|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Soar Like An Eagle
Sunday, August 28, 2016
A farmer discovered an eagle egg and he brought it back and put it in with the hen. The hen kept it warm until it hatched, and the eagle lived with the rest of the little chickens. He did what all the chickens did: he plucked for worms, he ran around the backyard of the farm, he would flutter his wings just like the chickens, and he came crashing down to the ground.
When the eagle got older, he looked up into the sky and he saw a beautiful bird, flying, soaring above. He asked “What’s that?” The chickens said, “That’s the king of the sky called the eagle. It soars on the currents of the wind and can go anywhere it wants. We are just chickens and we are on the dirt, on the ground.” And so the eagle lived as a chicken and died as a chicken because it believed it only was a chicken.1
The challenge we have as Catholic Christians is that we often believe so little in ourselves. We often settle ourselves for just plucking away at “worms in the ground” and rarely do we believe we can soar like an eagle. The Gospel from Sunday, August 28, reminds all disciples of their position before God and not to be arrogant in taking the places of honor. This passage was aimed at the Pharisees to understand the true meaning of the gospel of love.
My experience of Catholic communities for the most part is different. I rarely see people grabbing for places of honor. We have the other problem: we don’t believe in ourselves enough; we don’t believe that we have something valuable to give. The real challenge we have as Catholics is that we often think so little of ourselves that we rarely get off the ground just like the chickens. We are like that eagle who has the ability to soar and to fly on the currents of the air.
We can really make an impact but we have to believe that reality. We can make a difference in our family when we are the ones who choose to forgive when everyone else tells us not to forgive.We can be the community to reach out to those who are in need when society tells us it’s every person for themselves. Look at the positive difference all the Catholic communities and the many other faith communities made this last winter with housing the homeless in their churches and the parking lots.
True humility is recognizing that we have many gifts, and we are called to use those gifts for the good of all. May we not settle ourselves to be chickens who pluck away at the small things around us, but instead may we choose to be eagles who can soar, soar above all the pain of life, all the material distractions, and truly be majestic like birds of the air. Today our humility is to go and to serve in the Lord’s name, to make a difference, and to soar like an eagle.
(Endnotes) 1 “Connections” (Mediaworks, Londonderry, NH: February 18, 2009)