Sitting at the supper table many moons ago, Grandma informed Granddad that there was a big wasp nest above the brooder house door. She had been busy that day making her newly arrived chicks happy, warm and safe. Granddad hurriedly finished his supper and looked at me asked: “Boy, are you coming?” He liked to call me “boy” to my Grandma’s disapprovement, but it made me feel like family, and loved with deep affection. We moved quickly to the chicken yard trying to beat sundown to the draw. Granddad stopped along the way and grabbed a ladder. I asked him if he needed some gas or diesel or hornet spray but he grinned and headed for the brooder house. He spotted the nest and climbed the rungs of the ladder and took his big, powerful hand and squished the nest and pulled it down. I know from the way my eyes felt that they were stretched wide open, from ear to ear. Swallowing hard, I asked if he had been stung because he was calm and did not flinch and inch! He grinned and said: “Yes, a time or two, but it was good for my arthritis! “
Granddad was focused and motivated to overcome the impediment that was tempting Grandma. He had many struggles in life including the Great Depression and loss of his first wife after the birth of his third child. He toiled the Earth by day and milked his Holsteins before sunup and again before dark each and every day, and then spent his evening reading his bible and preparing a lesson for his Men’s Sunday school class that he taught for 40 years.
If we take time to think about our parents and grandparents and the enormous challenges they faced with the 10 year depression, world wars, new diseases and oppression, just to name a few, we should find hope in that they may have been wounded or bruised by life, but they stayed focused and moved forward. It was their time, life has a limit! Granddad would tell you, you have to make hay when the sun is shining. Every single day, the cows had to be milked twice and all the animals had to be fed and watered, there were no excuses. It didn’t matter how life had beat you up that day, these things had to be done!
We heard ringing in our ears today with these clear inductions in the Gospel reading: “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Mark 1:3) This should be our daily routine! No matter what else is in your path, each and every day you must enrich your heart with His living blood, transforming yourself into a temple of God. I ask you, are you satisfied with whom you have become or are you remodeling your life to be more like His? Remodeling is hard work; sometimes you need the sledgehammer and a lot of perspiration and blisters! It is your time, life has a limit!
Sometimes it takes climbing the ladder rungs amongst the stingers, and squishing the obstacles that hinder your progress. We cannot become complacent and allow our guard to drop. We are taught by our forefathers of our Holy Church: that the devil always takes advantage of times of challenge to sow discord and confusion, which lead man into yet greater sorrows and further away from the bosom of Abraham. (1 Peter 5:8, Luke 16:19-31) We simply forget to daily supply our animal its’ nourishment. We starve our soul and dehydrate our brains with worldly cares. We allow the plagues of anger and laziness to rot away at our eternity, placing us in years of depression. We allow the stinger, the fear, to be powerful and crippling instead of a blessing. I pray that you too are focused and motivated and that you will be wide-eyed enough to see His glory, and each and every day, pick up your cross and follow Him!