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28thSunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B
October 13, 2018
Clare Court, Baltimore, MD
A Time of Remembering and Reconnecting
By (Rev. Msgr.) Nicholas P. Amato
Today we gather to honor and celebrate the faith and life of 10 women in the graduating class of Regina Coeli Academy
Fifty years — or better 500 years taken together — of faith lived out of a small, intimate, and loving community of faith right here at Regina Coeli Academy
There is cause for celebrating and calling to mind the sisters and staff who created such an atmosphere of faith
Let us take a moment and call out their names as we begin this Eucharist
Many of us, when confronted with the challenge of love that Jesus presents to us are inclined to say, “I am a good person.”
I don’t steal or cheat or cheat. I love my spouse, my parents, and I try to respect others.
And yet, we surmise, there may be more we could be doing to live out the Gospel in our lives. Something may feel incomplete in our loving and caring for others that causes us to ask, “Jesus, am I doing okay?”
This is what the individual in today’s Gospel is feeling and doing. And then Jesus answers our questions and says, “Well, Nicholas, as a matter of fact, there is one thing that is lacking.”
You anxiously ask, “What’s that?” And Jesus responds to you and me with a 2018 answer that is a bit different from what he says to the person in the Gospel, but just as unsettling.
He says, “Power off your cell phone and turn off your tablet and your laptop. And just be there for your family or friends or for anyone you are with and for anyone who is in any kind of need.”
And much like the individual in the Gospel, you and I are really put off, “Give up my Smartphone and shut down my tablet and my laptop?
“Are you kidding? I might miss out on something.”
And that is precisely the issue, perhaps the heart of the problem.
Psychologists are now studying this fear of missing out on something as an addiction. They refer to it by the acronym FOMO – F-O-M-O – Fear of Missing Out.
It is the fear of missing out on something or someone more important, more interesting, or more exciting than the thing we are now doing or the person we are now with.
This other something or someone may be better or worse. We don’t know, so we feel compelled to check it out. The thought of missing an email or a text or a tweet could terrify us.
As a result, we interrupt one call to take another. We’re constantly checking FaceBook or LinkedIn to make sure we are not out of the loop.
We are connected and available 24/7. This is the “wealth” we are holding on to, much as the man in the Gospel was holding on to his financial or material wealth.
It is important to say that Jesus is not telling us to throw away our cell phones, tablets and laptops.
In fact, the fellow in today’s Gospel is the only person that Jesus ever tells to sell all that he has and give the money to the poor. He never says this to the Apostles or to Martha and Mary and Lazarus, or anyone else.
Jesus apparently is saying this here to shock this individual – to shake him into looking more deeply at himself and his life. And I think it is the same thing with us and all of our electronic and social communications.
Communicating or being connected is a wonderful thing, Jesus would say. But the kingdom of God is not digital, and real caring is not a virtual experience.
Disconnect to Connect
Today, Jesus would be saying: “Disconnect in order to connect.”
Disconnect from the cell phone or tablet or laptop and do this to connect with those around you. The purpose of communication is not just communication, but communion – communion with others and with God too.
The persons around us are the “poor”to whom Jesus tells the person in the Gospel to give his money. They may not be financially poor or any more emotionally or spiritually in need than we are…
But they are the persons we are with right now – your family at home, your friend with whom you are a cup of coffee or tea, and the person next door.
Jesus is challenging us to let go of what we are afraid we are going to miss – FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out.
The goal is to “Disconnect in order to connect.” Make sure our communications are for communion and don’t miss the communion with others that they are meant for.
It is for this very goal that you are gathering today.
Doing this allows us to truly be with another person or with God, or even with God by being with that person. From such communion flows an experience of inner peace and the letting go of FOMO – the Fear of Missing Out.
A time to celebrate a very special school, friendships, and education we received in this very small school so you can direct the homily to us and to the Sisters if you see fit. Only one sister who taught us will be the. There is one other Sister still alive who taught us and she is in Milwaukee. There were ten girls in my graduating class. Most other graduating classes were one to four girls. So you can imagine how special Regina Coeli Academy was to us in this intimate setting. Most of us came to live at the school from up the states where our Sisters had schools--some from New York, some from Virginia, some from Pennsylvania. There were some Baltimore girls who also lived there--only one or two day students. We were quite a little community.