Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sojourn, A Temporary Stay








I was in the airport on the way back from vacation. I was annoyed because I found out the plane was going to be an hour and a half late. So I was walking out my frustration and a young boy wondered over and stood in front of me and stared at me. I wasn’t sure what he was doing, but I quickly walked around him. I went into Brookstone to kill some time and while I was there the boy came back up to me with his father and asked if I was “Fr. Michael.” It turns out they were from St. Barnabas and he is in the grade school Since we were going to be delayed I thought I’d have some fun with him so I bought one of those little remote control helicopters. I thought it would be great to have in my office during one of those times I’m counseling a parent and we need to keep the child busy. Ok, and really, I’ve always wanted a remote control helicopter! So because of our delay we got to hang out in the airport and fly this helicopter around. It was hilarious. He had a great time zipping it around the waiting area and surprising people with it. We discovered that the hardest part was taking off and landing. For a take off you couldn’t do it slow, you have to give it full throttle and let it fly up for a little before backing it off. And for landing I tried to get him to land it on my hand but he would miss, knock it into someone else and then it would fly out of control and crash land. Once it landed it often had to be fixed before it could take off again. After we wore the battery out he said: “Fr. Michael, do you think you could use this for your homily this weekend?” I responded off the cuff: “Yeah, Sure.” And then he begged his parents to take him to mass. Now I realized I HAD to use it. So here you go.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place
that he was to receive as an inheritance;
he went out, not knowing where he was to go.
By faith he sojourned in the promised land as in a foreign country,
dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs of the same promise;
for he was looking forward to the city with foundations,
whose architect and maker is God.

By faith Abraham sojourned in the promised land.
I didn’t know what this word meant so I had to look it up. Sojourn: a temporary stay .

Temporary stays can be very rewarding. Think about your summer vacation. You got to sojourn for a little while. They are great times, but they go so quick. Think how much preparation went into it: Finding out about it, making the reservations, packing, driving, flying, traffic, delays, all of it. Then think about how difficult it was to leave… knowing it was the last day of vacation, packing up, cleaning up, getting in the van, flying, traffic, delays, all of that. It almost doesn’t seem worth it. It’s very difficult to prepare and go and to pack up and leave, but it’s a necessary part of the journey. The hardest thing about vacations is packing up to leave and packing up to go. .
The hardest thing about flying this remote control helicopter is also coming and going, taking off and landing. It takes a lot of skill to do both but it’s so worth it for that momentary time of flight.
This whole life for us on earth is a series of sojourns. Think about it. Even though we have a place we call home, it never really is permanent. Your first home was your mother’s womb, that lasted nine months. Then maybe there was the house you grew up in, your college dorm room, your first house, the house you raised the children in, and maybe you’re even looking toward your dream retirement house, or maybe even a nursing home. Each one of these moves is difficult but necessary. And each is really only for a time.
At different points in our lives we are called to move on. And just as with the helicopter, the hardest part is taking off and landing. And those are the times that require the most faith.
Brothers and sisters:
Faith is the realization of what is hoped for
and evidence of things not seen.
It’s during those times of transition that we need to rely the most on faith. In taking off and landing we often don’t know what we are leaving behind, where we are going, or what we are getting ourselves into. But God calls us to this journey of faith. As with the helicopter we can’t go half speed, we simply have to take that leap of faith and go full throttle. He calls us many times throughout this life to take off and land at a new destination. He calls us not to a permanent home on this earth, but our home is in heaven. This is the only place that we can dwell securely, the only place we can really hang our hat. Everything else along this journey is just a sojourn to our final destination.
Many times in our life we will be called, like Abraham, to go out in faith, to travel to somewhere new, to seek the promised land. Maybe God is calling you to go somewhere new. Maybe you are preparing to go away to school, or moving into a new house, or neighborhood, or job. This calls for great faith. And it takes great faith to take off full throttle.
Maybe God is calling you away from a place of comfort in your life so that he can take you on another journey and show you some other wonder. And you can dwell there for a time. Realize that we are all sojourners, making only temporary stays along the way. Don’t let fear keep you from making the move that you need to make. If God is calling you, have faith to go full throttle.
The hardest part is taking off and landing, but if you go full throttle with faith He will take you safely to your next place of refuge. And we always have something good to look forward to, not only the next sojourn, but ultimately our final destination in heaven.

1 comment:

  1. As with all your homilies/posts, the Lord spoke through you to my heart. This is a very meaningful reflection - all the more so since we just arrived back from vacation and are dealing with the messiness and busy-ness of returning home.
    God bless you.
    Mary from Wooster

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