Twenty-First Sunday of the Year Homily

Posted on Aug 29, 2017


27 August 2017


Harold Kushner, a rabbi, tells this story in his book, Overcoming Life’s Disappointments.


Every day for years a man visited his wife in a nursing home.

She suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

Every day he would come and feed her.

He would sit with her and show her pictures of their children and grandchildren.

She would forget as soon as he showed her the pictures who they were.

He would remind her, patiently.

He would explain each day who he was, that they had been married for 52 years.

Before leaving each day he would kiss her and tell her how much he loved her.

And, of course, she would never remember he had been there.

One day his best friend asked him:

“Why do you keep going when she doesn’t even know who you are?”

His answer.  “I keep going because I know who I am.”

In the gospel Jesus asks who he is.

He doesn’t have Alzheimers–but I do believe that how each of us answers that question

depends on if we know who we are.

We’re told that about 80% of Americans say they believe in God,

but fewer than 30% attend any kind of church or mosque or synagogue.

Increasingly we are becoming a land of generic religionists.

I don’t think that works.

In the same way that not one of us here wants to be known as just a generic person–

so I think if I truly know who I am,

I am concretely in relationship with God–not generically.

For all the bad things done in the name of denominational religion,

the good side is that it concretizes who we are in relationship to God.

By coming to church each weekend, putting our bodies on the line,

                                We do something to remember who we are–each week.

I am not generically a believer

–because that means, I have no responsibility.

Instead I am this concrete person with these failings and these blessings,

And this week I will remember that I am a child of God and act accordingly.

So the question of the week is this:

When was the last time you wanted to forget you were a child of God

and called to act in a certain way–concretely?!