Today it’s a homily for everyone. While listening to other sermons, we can often say to ourselves, “This doesn’t apply to me,” and then count the lights in the ceiling or, worse yet, “Who is he talking about?” Today is the exception as much as the Dollar Tree store is to retail. I love the Dollar Tree. I always wanted to stand up and yell, “Price check, aisle 3!” But I didn’t. Today, it’s for everyone.
St. Paul to his good buddy, Tim, Hey, Tim, “Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.” I may add to St. Paul, guard this rich trust with your life because it is your life given to us by God.
I’ve never seen or planted a mustard seed, and I don’t know anyone who still wears an apron. But the first is about the astounding personal and spiritual growth (sometimes even beyond our imagination) and wearing that helping servant’s garment in all of our deeds. Growth and service are two words for our prayerful reflections next week. The mustard lives and grows within us, and the wearing, or should I say bearing the apron, springs forth because of that mustard.
But I’m back to Paul and Tim. “Guard” and a “rich trust.” Trust is a pretty strong word on its own, but St. Paul adds that colorful adjective, “rich.” And “guard?” Guard against what? I’ll save you time here. We all know the answer to that admonition. How often is it a guard against ourselves and toward the divine?
The end of Paul’s sentence is the very best of all for us all, “with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.”
The “help of the Holy Spirit” is a mouthful and is the soul-filled assistance of the divine. Every sacrament contains the usual two (God, Jesus, and then holding up all those beautiful, meaningful seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. If you are a football fan, I offer you the following division of divine duties. God is the owner of the team who sits in the luxury box. Jesus is our general manager, showing us the plays, and the Holy Spirit is the coach, living and breathing but not on the sidelines but running, tackling, and huddling our next move on the field. All done with each and every one of us.
And, chiming in today is no other than that famous prophet Habakkuk, who no one knows about, with one of my absolute favorite words describing character: integrity. Integrity is a stand-alone word. There is no need to modify it, add an adjective, or make it a verb. Just saying the word “integrity” says it all.
Habakkuk wrote, “For the vision still has its time” (prayer and patience), “presses on to fulfillment” (perseverance and persistence), “and will not disappoint” (regardless of those pesky devils and demons). “If it delays, wait for it” (Americans hate waiting; here’s that “rich trust” again from St. Paul), “it will surely come, it will not be late” (within our lifetimes, please remember that “rich trust”), “The rash one has no integrity: but the just one, because of his faith (please don’t forget “rich trust!”), shall live.”