Peter Parrot came home upset and confused.
“What’s wrong?” – his mother asked.
“I hate my stupid beak!” Peter blurted out.
“Why do you hate your beak? I think it’s beautiful,” his mother said--- trying to reassure him.
“But all my friends have much cooler beaks than I do: Patty Pelican. Harry Hawk. Freddy Finch. . .”
Peter’s mother sat silently for a moment. Sometimes a mother has to think pretty quickly of what to say in order to heal a wounded ego. . . “Peter may be right,” she thought to herself, “they do have pretty cool beaks.”
But that’s not what she said. “you should go see Major Macaw, he’ll know what to tell you. He’s the wisest of the parrots and lives in the tallest tree in the forest. Yes, he will know what to say.” This is what Peter’s mom told him.
So off Peter flew to the tallest tree in the forest to find Major Macaw.
“Excuse me Major, I have a problem,” said Peter. “Oh dear, what can it be?” asked the venerable Macaw.
“I have a stupid beak – why can’t I have a cool beak like my friends?”
“You’re right,” said the macaw. “Your friends do have cool beaks. Tell me Peter, do you like eating fish?”
“Yuck! That would be disgusting!” responded Peter.
“Well that’s what Patty Pelican’s beak is designed for. So what’s your taste for rabbits and mice?”
“Gross,” said Peter.
“OK so maybe you should not aspire to have Harry Hawk’s beak. How about small seeds?”
“They’re not so bad, but my favorite is Brazil nuts,” explained Peter, salivating at the thought.
“Tell me Peter, if you had the beak of a pelican, hawk or finch – do you think you could eat a Brazil nut?”
“I guess not,” said Peter.
“You see, young parrot, you have been designed a certain way, with certain skills, attributes, and tastes. Don’t waste your life being envious of the capacities of others – just make sure that you know what you’re good at ---- and why you are here.”
The lesson Major Macaw is trying to teach Peter Parrot – sounds awfully close to being what Joey’s mother tried to teach him in the story we had on Christmas about the 3rd shepherd on the left ----
We don’t have to waste our time or energy being like anyone else. What’s important is the person God has created us to be – and to go about being that person the best we can.
So as Christ invites us to journey through another liturgical year – year C of the lectionary cycle when we read mostly from St. Luke’s Gospel --- may we come all the more to an understanding of who God has called us to be.
So let’s start at the very beginning – a very good place to start:
Let’s start with our Baptism. . .for once the life-giving waters of Baptism are poured on our heads – then like the Magi of last week –
we have to go home by another route – because we are set on a journey different than everyone else – we are called to look up and find the star – to find the light of Christ – and then we are to follow that light every day ----
So let’s remember what our parents and godparents first promised for us at our Baptism – and we have had many opportunities to renew since then – by responding I DO to the following questions:
Do you reject Satan?
And all his works?
And all his empty promises?
Do you believe in God, the Father almighty creator of heaven and earth?
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God?
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
This is our faith. This is the faith of the Church. If you are proud to profess and will strive to live it – then say: AMEN!
Amen – so be it. We have just said that we will do our best to live our lives following after Christ ---
that’s the first thing we need to come to know about who God is calling us to be – followers of Jesus Christ.
In Baptism, we become God’s beloved daughters and sons – and God is well pleased with us.
And to continue to discover who God is calling us to be – we need to listen to the call that comes to us in the Scriptures, be nourished by the Body of Christ – and to find support, challenge and encouragement from others ----------------- all of which we find in this place Sunday after Sunday.
By immersing ourselves in the grace that is found in this place – we continue to discover who God is calling us to be ----
and gain the courage and strength to choose God’s call ----- instead of giving in to who the world is calling us to be.
And that’s why I think it is wise for us from time to time to revisit just how committed we are to being members of this particular Body of Christ at St. Patrick.
In the Christmas card you received several weeks ago – I tried to lay out as best I could – the covenant relationship we are in when we belong to a parish.
In this relationship -- the parish provides certain things for us:
-opportunities to grow and strengthen our faith
-opportunities to live our faith in service to others
-life-long learning opportunities to deepen our understanding of the faith
-the challenge to practice good stewardship of all our financial contributions
-and the opportunities to develop lasting friendships within a faith community.
AND IN TURN – to uphold our end of the relationship each of us must decide to:
-regularly attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days
-participate in ministry and events that puts our God given gifts and talents to use for the good of all.
-prayerfully consider how we can support the parish spiritually and financially
-support the mission of the parish
-and to pray regularly for the parish and our fellow parishioners.
If we can’t do all of these things – then choose to do something --- something to show that you are committed to this parish – because it takes all of us, working together ---- to make this place the special place that it is.
In the card, you were asked to print your names on the bottom of the slip – and bring them here today -- there are baskets to drop them in when you come up for Communion -------
But don’t worry if you forgot ---- starting next weekend – there will be a bowl at the Baptismal Font where you can drop them in.
Again, the important thing in all of this is for you to just take a few minutes to prayerfully reflect on what this parish means to you --- and then make some kind of commitment to continue making this place a spiritual home for you – and all who gather here Sunday after Sunday.
PLEASE MAKE THE COMMITMENT THAT AS FOR YOU AND YOUR HOUSE---YOU WILL SERVE THE LORD!
Moments in time...