Homily Oct 16-17


Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time C 2010

On Friday, I was visiting people at the nursing home and an assisted living center.  One woman told me a story about when she was a young lady.  In her English class, a young man sat on her left and three young women sat at her right.  This young man asked if she was interested in a date.  She politely declined.  He then went to the next woman at her left who also turned him down.  He continued down the row until the third woman said yes.  Persistence pays off.

When I was at St. Dominic Parish, an eighth grader wanted to be with a woman but he was having no luck.  He decided to do something different; he was going to speak with women at the next Mater Dei football game.  It didn’t matter if they were in the 6th grade or they were seniors in high school, he was approaching them all.  The following week I asked how he did.  He smiled and said that he even got three numbers from women who were juniors in high school.  Persistence pays off.

One of my favorite movies is Rudy.  I remember the first time I saw the movie; I was on the bus with the high school band going to Washington DC.  One of the adults would announce the movie and say something about it.  When I heard the words football, I decided that I would not like the movie.  I saw other sports movies, even other inspirational sports stories before and I did not care for them.  I just am not a sports person and I fail to appreciate well-played moves.

My seatmate was excited about the movie.  He told me to give it a try, so I watched a few minutes of the movie, and I was hooked.  For those of you who do not know about the movie, it is about a young man Rudy who has a dream.  He wants to play football for the University of Notre Dame but there are many obstacles in the way.  For instance, he does not have the grades for acceptance into any four-year university let alone a prestigious one.  Furthermore, he is rather small and not exactly college football material.

Rudy spends day after day training his mind, his body, and his soul.  It took him several years just to get in Notre Dame and then he had to make the football team.  He spent his days being a tackling dummy and it seemed like he would never get to play during one season game.  The last game of his senior year he was allowed to dress.  Finally, with only seconds left on the board Rudy was allowed to be in the final two plays of the game.

Rudy spent thousands of hours for less than thirty seconds of game play.  I wish I could say he made the game winning touchdown but he didn’t.  In one sense, Rudy accomplished nothing in those final seconds but all the effort was worth it because his dream became real.

Just as Rudy was persistent, Jesus says we have to be persistent in prayer.  That means our prayers may seem to get us nowhere for the longest time.  Notre Dame rejected Rudy several times but he made it. 


One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Rudy goes before his coach and says that over the years he realized that he doesn’t have a football players body.  His coach said that he wished God had put Rudy’s heart into some of his players’ bodies.  God calls us to have such a heart because when we are weak, God can make us strong.  He does that here at this Eucharist.  In the Book of Ezekiel, we hear that God will take out our stony hearts and give us natural hearts.  At the Eucharist, we experience a transformation but we must be persistent in prayer.  Many saints prayed for years and years only to suddenly experience a powerful unanticipated presence of God.  We must put the hard work in to realize the gift when it arrives.

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