A son and his father were hiking in the mountains. Suddenly, the boy falls, twists his ankle and cries out a few others words that should not be repeated in front of women and children.
To the boy’s surprise, he hears that string of words repeating somewhere in the mountains.
Curious he yells: “Who are you?” He receives the answer back: “Who are you?”
Angered at the response, he screams, “Coward!” And receives back the response, “Coward!”
Now we know what’s going on, right? It is the echo of the boy’s voice. But he has never experienced this so he looks at his father and asks, “What’s going on?”
The father smiles and says: “why don’t you try saying something nice.”
And so the boy shouts: “I like you.” And of course the voice answers back: “I like you.”
Again, the boy shouts: “You are strong.” And the echoed response: “You are strong.”
The boy, still not quite understanding what’s going on, looks to his father again, who says--
“People call it an echo --- but it’s also how LIFE works.”
Really confused now, his father says: “life gives back to you everything you say or do. Our lives are simply an echo of our words and actions.
“If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more confidence for your team – improve your own confidence.
“When your words are kind – the people you speak to will also be kind.
“The echo principle applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life gives you back everything you have given it.”
God certainly understands the echo principle. That’s why throughout this year as we’ve read from St. Matthew’s Gospel on the Sundays of Ordinary Time we have heard such things as:
“Your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” [5th Ord.]. If we radiate the light of Christ to others – that light will come back to us in the words and deeds of others.
“Unless you righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”  If we act with righteousness, that is if our conduct is morally right and just, it affects others – and will come back as an echo to us.
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”  Love is the only way to break the cycle of violence in our families, our neighborhoods, and our country.
“Whoever loses their life for my sake, will find it.”  We must expend our time, talent, and treasure for the sake of the kingdom of God – not the things of this world – and then we can begin enjoying the values of the kingdom here and now.
“Whoever gives a cup of cold water to one of my disciples will receive a great reward.”  The great reward ultimately being the kingdom of heaven – but also the kindness others will show us – because of the kindness we showed them.
And of course the lesson of today – we must forgive others from our hearts – if we expect the same forgiveness to be shown us.
The expectation was there. . . the master said to his servant: “I forgave your whole debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?? Then in anger his master handed him over to the tortures until he should pay back the whole debt.”
And then Jesus’ lesson in this story: “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother or sister from your heart.”
As the father taught his son in the story – so Jesus teaches us:
Life gives back to us everything we say or do. Our lives are simply an echo of our words and actions.
If we want more love in the world, we need to create more love in our hearts.
When our words are kind – the people we speak to will also be kind.
And if we forgive one another from our hearts – then the Lord will forgive us. . .
Which is why Jesus taught us to pray:
Forgive us, as we forgive those who trespass against us. . .
So as we leave this place today – let’s put the echo principle into action – Let’s help create a more loving world by creating more love in our hearts.
And a more forgiving world – by being more forgiving.
Moments in time...