Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 11, 2016
“I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord,
because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.”
1 Timothy 1:12
There is a lot about trust in today’s readings. Moses implores God to spare his people, who appear untrustworthy in their allegiance to the God who has promised them everything! Those who have lost a sheep, a coin, or a son prove themselves trustworthy stewards as they trust that their decisions, persistence, and patience will be rewarded with a positive outcome.
At 8:30 this coming Sunday morning, I'll warm up the choir for the 9:15 Mass. They’ll trust that I am prepared and ready for them, and I’ll trust that they will at least be on time and have all their music! Likely there will be excitement as we begin the new choir year as well as some scrambling for robes and last-minute directions. For many of us, there will also be memories of that morning fifteen years ago when tragedy struck the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in DC, and a field in Pennsylvania.
That morning, I was driving to work at the diocesan pastoral center, where a prayer service would begin a day-long orientation for new employees. I remember being confused and afraid as I heard the news of the first plane hitting the towers in New York. Our welcoming prayer quickly was reworked into a new prayer around our need of God and one another in a desperate and uncertain circumstance. Later in the day, I helped a colleague with programs at our Cathedral, where families would gather to pray that night. Throughout that day, I remember feeling lost, confused, afraid. But I also experienced a sense of safety in the company of our rituals, my colleagues, and our diocesan bishop. I trusted those around me to help me get through a day that was a blur of ministering to others and being ministered to.
As pastoral musicians, we feel a need to produce—insightful choices, beautiful music, excellent choirs and cantors. We are used to making quick judgments because we have to. And all of this is valid and important. But music ministry is about more than this. It is also about patience, listening, walking with, taking time for the lost, being non-judgmental, imploring, and finding alternatives.
Like Moses and the prodigal’s father, may we learn to be trustworthy servants in our ministry.
Loving and trustworthy God,
help me remember my ministry is not just about producing something;
help me be relational, connecting with, listening to, walking with;
help me look for and value the lost and broken;
help me know when and how to celebrate as well as when and how to let go.
Above all, help me to trust you and to be your trustworthy servant.
Sacred Heart Cathedral
Rochester, New York