Sunday, November 3, 2019 – All Saints Sunday

November 3, 2019  

All Saints 2019

Our Savior’s La Crosse

Ephesians 1:15-23

Luke 6:20-31

Yesterday I began my devotion for the Style Show with a quote from one of my favorite books of Meditation. The book is a collection of writings by Dorothy Day. During the Great Depression Dorothy Day and a couple of her colleagues founded the Catholic Worker, a monthly newspaper. They established St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality about the same time—an establishment that provided meals and a place to sleep for folks needing assistance. St. Joseph’s was the first of many such houses of hospitality throughout the United States, including here in La Crosse where we have our own Place of Grace.

Anyway—the quote I read was this:

“…it is only in the duties of the moment that we are able to see and find Christ.”

(Meditations by Dorothy Day p. 3)

It is only in the duties of the moment.

Examining the “duties of the moment” requires us to understand what a “duty” is.

In the land of ethics, a “duty” is a moral obligation. A duty is something we are obliged to do just because we ARE—just because we exist. All humans have moral obligations… moral duties. The problem with knowing what those moral obligations are is that nobody knows for sure. Our understandings of moral duties depend on who we are and what we believe.

As Christians, our moral obligations are clear. We are to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. And Jesus was clear. When asked, he said the greatest commandment was to “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 2:37-39).

Following Jesus means then, that our moral obligation, our DUTY is to love God and neighbor.

When we love God and we love neighbor, we are able to see and find Christ.

In our reading from Ephesians this is put another way. St. Paul wrote:

I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ…may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe… (1:17- 19).

The glorious inheritance among the saints that we receive is the gift of our baptism: the gift of God’s graceful love that embraces us and forgives us, leading us (with all the saints) to life on earth and in heaven with God.

Tuesday afternoon a young man stopped our office, asking to speak to me. He told me that he had come to La Crosse with a friend, just for fun. He said the friend’s car broke down, and in the process of getting the car fixed or getting a ride home—the friend “ditched him.” So this young man found another friend who let him stay in the friend’s van while he found a way to get home. Home is in MN.

The young man spent a week and a half looking for a way to get home. For a week and a half he slept in a van, trying to find a way home. Finally, people at the Place of Grace told him to come here.

We were able to buy him a ticket to get a ride on a shuttle, to a place in MN where his mom would pick him up. He hadn’t eaten all day so the Come for Supper people made him a sandwich. Lois bought him a pop. He kept saying “You people are so helpful…”

My question is, why did it take a week and a half for him to find someone to help him?

He told me people kept telling him to go to different places, but that no one could help… better put, no one would help him… As he told me that he just shook his head, baffled.

Folks, it is our moral obligation as Christians to love God, and to love our neighbors. Our moral obligation is to help those who are most vulnerable… like a young man stranded in town with no way home. We don’t do these things because we have to do them to get to heaven, we do these things because it is what Jesus taught us to do.

“…it is only in the duties of the moment that we are able to see and find Christ.”

I read a second quote yesterday, during my devotion. This one was from words written by Dorothy Day, herself:

 Our lives are made up of little miracles every day. That splendid globe of sun, one street wide, framed at the foot of [the] street in early morning mists, that greeted me on my way … to Mass…was a miracle… I was  reminded of a little song [my daughter] composed at the age of two:“I’ll sing a song…of sunshine on a little house and the sunshine is a present  on the little house.” Sunshine… is indeed a present. We get presents, lots of  them…” (MDD, p. 18).

The greatest present we shall ever receive is the gift of Jesus and his love for us. The greatest gift we can ever give is the gift of Jesus and his love for us. We give Jesus and his love in “the duties of the moment.”

It is my prayer that we see and find Christ in all that we say and in all that we do.