Here's the run-down of the homily: (The Old Testament lesson was Jeremiah 17: 5-10; the responsorial Psalm was Psalm 1, and the Gospel lesson was Luke 16: 19ff.) Father Michael showed the warning labels from both a pillow and an extension cord, pointing out: Why are these warning labels needed? Somebody died." He used the warning labels to illustrate the significance of the story in Luke 16-- the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Both the rich man and Lazarus died; Lazarus was taken to heaven and the rich man was taken to hell. The story is a warning that we get one life to live, and if we choose NOT to serve the Lord, then our destination is hell. Hell is a real place and people really do go there. This is a serious matter. Father Michael was very grave (and rightly so) in his delivery of his message; hence, the discussion I had with my students one hour later...
... I recapped the story of the rich man and Lazarus and I explained why the message Father Michael delivered IS so very important and so very serious. The kids responded well to my recap and to my explanation. I think the reason they understood it coming from me is that they KNOW me-- they've spent the last 7 months being taught by me, asking me questions, seeing me in action, etc. What a humbling thought-- whether or not my students (or anyone I know) are willing to hear the Word explained by me hinges on whether or not my life gives credence to the words I say.
The kids asked if I had ever considered becoming a religion teacher, and I told them that I couldn't teach religion at the school; it's not my field of expertise and I'm not Catholic. Then I explained that I definitely have a relationship with Jesus, so a student asked if I was a Christian. And I said "Yes, that's what I meant when I said I had a relationship with Jesus." He replied that you CAN have a relationship with Jesus but not be a Christian. That gave me the opportunity to explain that being a Christian means being in a relationship with Jesus and having one's life shaped and molded by him. I had the chance to talk about the importance of reading Scripture and of daily prayer. What a blessing to be able to take time away from Chemistry to talk about the Lord!
Jeremiah 17: 5-10This is what the LORD says:
“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure.
Who can understand it?
“I the LORD search the heart
and examine the mind,
to reward a man according to his conduct,
according to what his deeds deserve.”