Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily – August 26, 2021
Homily for the 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 8-26-21, Year B
Readings: 1 Thes 3:7-13, Gospel Mt 24:42-51
Theme: Be Prepared
The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” Scouting is all about preparing ourselves for unknown circumstances that cause us to rely on survival and team skills. Whether it be in nature, camping, or hiking, in interactions with others or medically when injuries occur. Scoutmasters are there to help lead and mentor young scouts in this preparedness for life.
Not only does scouting teach us knowledgeable skills like survival in nature, but it also teaches us to appreciate the environment and those who came before us, such as Native American people. Native American people teach us how to live in harmony with nature, to prepare for the change in seasons and how to rely on each other in times of strife. Through many good Native American tribes and people, scouts find a glimpse of God in their life and work.
Scouting teaches a well-rounded skillset that can save our lives and make them fulfilling. A scout who is prepared, when he finds himself lost in the woods, has the confidence that his training and preparation will help him survive and even thrive in finding his way home.
In a way, we can look at St. Paul like a scoutmaster. He led and mentored those he came in contact with. Like a scoutmaster, St. Paul stays with his people to help them uphold and understand Jesus’s teachings. As a scoutmaster is proud of his scouts when they transition from cub scouts to boy scouts, St. Paul, too, is proud of the spiritual growth and journey the people of Thessalonica had made.
When we are prepared, our anxiety and worry over future happenings is greatly reduced. We know we are ready for the challenges that face us and are not surprised by them when they happen.
Jesus is very clear in the Gospel today about being prepared in His opening statement to His disciples by stating, “Stay awake!” Not only do we need to prepare spiritually by understanding our Catholic faith, Jesus’ teachings and the sacraments, but we also need to be prepared by putting these things into practice in our lives. It is one thing to understand scripture and have knowledge of it, but it is an entirely different thing to put it into action. (Jas 2:16-17)
If we slack in our prayer, spiritual education, and taking advantage of the sacraments, especially penance, we will not be prepared and could find our house broken into. Do not be lulled into human attachments by our secular world and the allurements of an earthly life. Be prepared and listen to your scoutmaster, Jesus, and be ready with the survival skills of faith, hope and love that He teaches.