Posted on Sep 24, 2020


Several years ago I called an old friend of mine and invited him to lunch.

He had spent a lifetime building a career and becoming very successful at what he does. 

He’s good at what he does and he works very hard.

When I finally got a hold of him he said:

“Well, I just got back from Istanbul and things are piled up but sure, I can give you a lunch time.”

We met on a sunny day and sat outside for lunch.

He talked about all the places he’d been on his last trip.

Finally, he said: “I also went to Jerusalem.”

I knew instantly why he’d mentioned that last.

He’d been raised a Catholic but had long since given up the Church and God stuff.

He said, “Jerusalem is a beautiful city.”

“I wouldn’t know,” I said.  “You didn’t go there because it was a beautiful city.”

“No, George, I went there hoping something would happen.”

For all of his success, for getting everything he wanted in life, meeting most of the goals he had for himself he found there was a hole and from what he could remember of his childhood faith, he knew the hole had a name: “God.”

He visited the site of the Holy Sepulcher –the place where Jesus’ tomb is supposed to be.  He said, “There’s a tradition that you’re supposed to reach down and touch the spot where they laid Jesus after he died and then cross yourself.  I hadn’t made the sign of the cross in years.  Even as I reached down, I who had come hoping something would happen, was more afraid that nothing would happen.  I crossed myself and….and nothing happened.”

“Why George?”

I really didn’t answer.  I think he knew.  I think he knew that there is no magic in Jerusalem or even here around this table.

Our relationship with the Lord is built one step at a time, a one day at a time–

one choice at a time.  All the Yes’s and No’s of all of our lives.

            As Jesus points out in the gospel today: we are never spared the consequences of our choices.

That would be magic–and if the magic were true,

Then how could the Lord be real?

There is good news in today’s gospel–

is that our relationship with the Lord is not one sided.

The Lord is never very far off nor as far off as he could seem.

All of us are building tomorrow by the choices we make today.

Surely, if we turn to the Lord we will find him at our side now and at the hour of our death.