“One Stop Shopping”

The only thing I remember my eighth grade nun in Manitowoc, WI. saying was, “A place for everything and everything in its place.”

What did that mean to an 8th grader? Barely anything. What does it say to someone 65? It means the world.

After our service today and we leave this beautiful church the world tells you “to take control of your life,” if you want to get ahead. “Get a grip.” “Succeed or fail,” says our culture but never our God. We then return to this beautiful church and are told to “empty yourself,” “lose yourself to find yourself” and let God fill you up.

Now what? Is it “both/and” or “either/or?” In this journey of life can we “have our cake and eat it too?”

Samuel can’t get a good night’s sleep, and Jesus has two guys following him. Samuel misses God’s messages, and Jesus readily shares Good News with his two creepy followers who soon become his “followers.”

Besides my 8th-grade nun’s comment, Jesus gives us the best challenge of all, “What are you looking for?” You’re able to follow and believe when you’re ready to answer that question. If not completely answer, at least have clues and signals that lead you to follow a faith that is bigger than yourself.

That’s why this beautiful church is not just a weekly Sunday exercise that has a beginning and end. This is the “place” – the place for everything – for all of life’s meanings and purposes. If it’s only an exercise for you, then you’d be like us young kids who would return home when Mass finished at 11:00. Our mom would ask us, “Did you get to church?” “Oh, yes,” we’d all say and hold up the Sunday bulletin that we grabbed before heading to the playground for an hour of fun. (Would the kids here please forget what I just said?)

Being a priest, I realize it’s an occupational hazard, but everything filters through this beautiful church – the newspapers I read, the Internet news I browse, the people I meet, the friends I keep, the music I listen to, the thoughts that I harbor. But, maybe it’s not a hazard, after all. Can it rather be a context, that harbor, that light post, that wayside, that hope for us all?

“A place for everything?” Like the demons in the Bible, if you can’t find a place for something in your mind and heart than they just grow and roam looking for a place to land, to call home. They usually land in our silly minds that merely repeats and repeats itself instead of finding a home in our faithful souls which empowers, transforms and converts.

“Everything in its place” means that it begins and ends in this beautiful church. Oh yeah, work hard out there in your job; work toward promotions and higher pay but accomplish it in the spirit of this place with your dignity, integrity, and character intact. Know where life begins and ends. It is all contextualized right here. Like Samuel, keep searching for the words to reach God. And like those creepy guys following Jesus, don’t stalk Jesus – follow him with open arms – for his guidance, encouragement, and support is found right here in this Body of Christ.

We are all gathered now in the place where every part of our lives is offered openly to our Creator for affirmation, forgiveness, and correction.

(whispers) But don’t forget the Sunday bulletin.

“Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was. The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.” Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.” “I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.” So he went back to sleep. Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli. “Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.” But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”
“Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned and saw them following him and said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” — which translated means Teacher —,”where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come, and you will see.”

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available in paperback or Kindle
on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons of
Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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