The Church of Saint Agnes

1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

The Church of Saint Agnes
1680 Dixie Highway, Fort Wright, KY 41011

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12th Week in Ordinary Time

Date: 
Sat, 07/01/2017
Author: 
Rev. Msgr. Donald Enzweiler

We take our health for granted.  We fail to properly appreciate our own well-being.
We expect to remain healthy as if we have a right to do so.
We seldom question the “why” behind our health.
Some of us work hard…we eat right, exercise, get rest
and conclude that health will be our reward because we’ve done the work.
We also conclude that as long as we are attentive and appreciative and grateful,
as long as we remain mindful and make good choices regarding our health,
we deserve it.  Because of our dedication, God owes us good health.
 
But our health is not promised, nor is it guaranteed.
Never does Jesus say that good health is an outward sign of faith, grace and salvation.
As a matter of fact, this is what the Jewish religious leaders promoted.
They say to the people “if you’re not healthy, then somehow, someway,
there is sin in your life.  If you would stop sinning and repent, good health will return.”
 
Good health is a blessing…a blessing bestowed upon us by God.
In his compassion and love, Jesus uses divine power to restore even outcasts to good health.
 
And so, what is the purpose of our health:  to live a long life?  to enjoy our time in this world? 
to gain some advantage?
I believe we must be very careful not to associate good health with faithful discipleship.
There are very evil people in the world who enjoy the best of health.
 
I donate platelets at Hoxworth every three weeks.
It’s a 2-3 hour process of sitting very still with a needle the size of a garden hose in your arm.
Yesterday, the technician doing the draw told me that people come up to him
and ask why donors don’t get paid for their contribution of platelets.
Such people ask “why would someone go through this process and not get paid
when they can go to a Platelet Center across town and receive $50, $60, $70 dollars?”
 
For some people, too many people obviously, monetary gain is life’s purpose.
They don’t and can’t understand charity, kindness, sacrifice,
a willingness to help those in need out of the goodness of one’s heart.
Any type of inner, spiritual reward is totally off the radar.
 
And yet, within the story of Salvation History, the story remembered and retold in the bible,
the value of kindness, service, unconditional generosity is attested to and promoted.
Abraham, who lived what 8, 10 thousand years ago
finds reward for his attitude and disposition of charity.
He is blessed and he willingly shares his blessings…even with strangers.
What are the rewards?:  not only inner peace but peace with fellow human beings;
a sense of joy;  an intimate connection with God as in “this is what life is all about”.
 
If the Centurion in today’s gospel instead approached a Pharisee with his concern
the Pharisee would no doubt have said “you get from God what you deserve”.
I hope none of us are Pharisees in this regard.
 
Our health is a blessing of fruitfulness.  Its purpose is not self-gratification of even self-esteem.
And it surely isn’t meant to be a source of pride.
The fruit on a tree fulfills its purpose only when it is given away.
The fruit adds nothing to the tree itself…but it does promote life beyond the tree.
Our blessings bring new life when we offer them freely to others.
We can keep our blessings to ourselves.  But then how long will it take us to learn:
“enjoyment isn’t truly enjoyment until it is shared.”
 
Today’s prayer:  “O Lord, source of life and giver of all good gifts….give us open hearts and open hands that we may joyfully contribute, not our leftovers, but our blessings to those in need.  Amen!”