Just Passing Through – Msgr. Charles McGlinn

Msgr. Charles McGlinn’s Homily August 3, 2019

“A barber was very impressed with the Pastor’s Sunday sermon and it was about witnessing to your faith and he said, ‘You know I could be a better witness to my faith and I’m gonna do it.’  So, the next day, Monday, he went to work and went into the Barber Shop and there was a person who came in and he said, ‘I would like to have a shave.’ And so the barber seated him in the barber chair and then he said, ‘Excuse me a moment.’  So the barber went into the back room and he knelt down and he said a little prayer. ‘Oh Lord God, I want to witness my faith to this customer. Please give me the words to say. Amen.’ So he comes back out and in one hand he has the Bible and in the other hand he has a straight razor and he says, ‘Are you ready to meet your maker?’

That is the question that is asked in all three readings today, one about vanity in life, Paul says, ‘Think of things that are above and not the things of Earth.’  And Jesus, Jesus also has a wonderful message for us today. Someone in the crowd says, “Master, my brother didn’t give me my share of the inheritance. Make him do so.  Jesus take care of him.’ Rather than responding directly to that request, Jesus goes as he often does to the deeper underlying value and he says, ‘Life does not consist in our possessions.’  That’s a message that we all have to hear once in awhile and think about, ruminate how it relates to us in our life. Life does not consist in our possessions and so we are sometimes that way, seeking to acquire more and more.  You know we can really become greedy and Jesus’ words are not just for the wealthy, they’re for all of us, for each one of us because we all can become greedy whether we have stuff or not. We can want stuff that we don’t have, we can be jealous of stuff that other people have.  We can become greedy and greed is like a fire. The more wood you throw on the fire, the hungrier it gets and it’s never satisfied nor is greed ever satisfied in our lives, but Jesus says to us, ‘Think of the things above.’ We need to put God first in our lives, not second, third, and certainly not last.  Put God first. If we put God first and our loved ones second, ourselves third, then I think we’re gonna find what happiness is all about in this world as well as in the next.

One of the things we need to think about today is that life is so fragile.  It is so fragile! I mean we can go in a minute, so we have to really look at our lives and spend our lives as best we can, so to put God first and the things of God in our life and I think that means first of all, to look at our relationship with Jesus.  When we die, the only thing that we take with us from this life to the next is our relationships. Our relationship first of all with God, with Jesus and if we don’t have a good relationship there, then what do we take with us? And secondly, our relationships with one another and how much more loving can they be.  So we need to spend our time well. We need to think of the things of God and put up treasure in Heaven.

There’s a story about the American traveler who went to Europe and he heard about this famous Rabbi, so he gets the address and goes to visit him.  The Rabbi welcomes him into his home which is just a one room shack and the visitor is just amazed at how meager the possessions were of this Rabbi.  All he had was a small table and a chair, some books and a lamp and a bed and that was it and he said, ‘Rabbi, where’s all your furniture?’ And the Rabbi said, ‘Where’s my furniture?  Sir, where is your furniture?’ And the guy says, ‘Well it’s at home. I’m travelin’. I’m traveling through, I’m just passing through.’ And the Rabbi says, ‘So am I. I’m just passing through.’  Which leads me to a poem that I entitled this poem ‘Just Passing Through.’

Lord, I get caught up in material things
I want things old and new
I have so many worldly thoughts
but I know I’m passing through
I’m just passing through

Why do things obsess me Lord
When my greatest thing is you
Material matters make me forget
That I’m just passing through
I’m just passing through

A lot of stuff clutters up my life
My heart and mind renew
Remind me Lord, help me to see
That I’m just passing through
I’m just passing through

It’s my relationships that matter most
With others and with you
Love is the most important thing
‘Cuz I’m just passing through
I’m just passing through”