Homily

Adam is having a conversation with God and asks: "Dear God, I want to know what heaven and hell are really like."

So God takes Adam to two rooms. God opens the door to the first room. In that room is a huge round table, surrounded by people sitting on chairs; in the middle of the table sits a large pot of the most delicious stew Adam ever smelled. The aroma fills the room and makes his mouth water. But the people sitting at the table are thin, sickly and sad. They are holding spoons with very long handles strapped to their arms. They can reach the pot of stew and fill their spoons; but since the handles are longer than their arms, they can't get the spoons back to their mouths. Adam shudders at the sight of their frustration and misery. Closing the door behind them, God quietly says: " Adam, that is hell!"

Then God takes Adam to the second room and opens the door. This room looks exactly like the first room: a huge round table with a large pot of delicious stew sitting at the center. All the people sitting at the table have similar long-handled spoons; but here the people are eating. They are healthy and happy and engaged in lively conversation with each other in a joyful party-like atmosphere! Then God declares, "Adam, this is heaven!" Adam turns to God and says: "I don't understand." "Oh, it is really quite simple!" God replies. "It requires but one important skill. The people here in heaven have learned to feed each other, while those in hell are thinking only of themselves."

Dear people, faith is never a private matter between God and myself : never! To be a person of faith is to be in community. To be a person of faith is to serve community. In today's Gospel Jesus calls ordinary fishermen to be a community, to bring peace and justice, mercy and compassion to our world. Jesus needs Simon and Andrew, James and John. He also needs Mary of Magdala, Therese of Calcutta, Dorothy Day. He needs the Lindas and Dennises, the Annes and Tonys, the Susans and Edwards, all of us. He actually needs us to continue what he began two thousand years ago. We are essential to bringing the reign of Jesus to this earth. Without us it will not happen! At Baptism we join Jesus' community. At our Sunday Liturgies we strengthen our community bonds, celebrate the Good News of God's love for us, and share the Table Food of Jesus. We do all this to serve the larger community and all God's creation.

The fishermen of Galilee were far from perfect; but they quickly set aside their own agendas to answer Jesus' call. They do this with good hearts, they don't understand what lies ahead, they don't know what will be asked of them, they simply trust the One who calls them. Can you and I match their generosity? Can we afford not to? After all, it's a matter of Door #1 or Door #2; and like many of us, I really do enjoy a good stew!

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