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Bishop Burbidge's homily at Couples for Christ conference

08-08-2016

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Couples for Christ Mass
August 7, 2017

Recently, young adults from our diocese along with their peers from around the world. traveled to Poland to be with our Holy Father for World Youth Day. Upon their departure, I spoke to them of the true meaning of a pilgrimage: a reminder that life here on earth is merely a journey preparing for the ultimate goal we all share: life with God forever and ever. 

We see today the example of Abraham and his journey of faith and pray for the grace to imitate his courage and trust. In the Gospel, Jesus reaffirms that one day our earthly lives will end and we do not know the day nor the hour. Jesus is not trying to cause us fear or anxiety. He is speaking to us lovingly urging us to be vigilant to be prepared and to be ready when the Father calls us home. 

If we are to be prepared to meet the Lord, then we must realize what truly matters here and now. It is not about keeping busy; it is about being. Yes, we have obligations and responsibilities to fulfill each day.  But if in the process we become so busy we lose our focus, then our priorities will be misplaced; life will become chaotic and we will travel the wrong path. The only remedy is by being with the Lord so to put into practice the theme of your gathering. In being with the Lord, we rejoice in knowing of his abiding presence in our lives; we pray for the grace and strength he so freely offers and we give thanks for the abundant blessing that surround each day which we can so easily miss if we are to busy doing. Rejoice, Pray and Give Thanks. In this way, at the end of time, we will not be strangers to the Lord, but known as His companions.

If we are to be prepared to meet the Lord, then we must remember that our lives here and now are not about gaining, but about giving. There is a story told about a gentleman who had many possessions and when the Lord called Him home, he was escorted to his final dwelling place. He passed beautiful places and kept wondering why he was not led to them. Instead, he was told that his final place would be a hut. And he protested reminding the Lord how rich he was on earth. The Lord simply said, “I am sorry, this is the only thing we could build with what you sent to us.” In the end it is all that matters—not what we accumulated, but by what we gave away especially to those in most need.

If we are to be prepared to meet the Lord, then we must remember that our lives here and now are not about titles but about testimony. Thank you dear friends for the testimony of your lives: for proclaiming the sacredness of all human life at every stage; for teaching the sanctity of marriage as the sacred and permanent union of one man and one woman; for striving daily to become holy families. More than ever our church and our great nation in these turbulent times need to see your faithful testimony. 

Through the intercession of Mary and Joseph, may their Son give us the grace we need to remember that as we continue this journey of faith here on earth: it is not about keeping busy, it is about being; it is not about gaining, it is about giving; and it is not about titles, it is about testimony. Go forth and continue to Rejoice; Pray and Give Thanks. In this way, with God’s help, we will bring Jesus to others and will be prepared to meet the Lord on the day He calls us to Himself live with him forever and ever.