|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.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Recently, I watched the movie “Evan Almighty.” It’s a light-hearted movie about a young congressman, Evan Baxter, who wants to change the world. One day Evan gets a visit from God and is asked to help change the world by building an ark for all his creatures. At first, Evan thinks he’s crazy but eventually starts to build the ark and trusts that God has some sort of plan for a flood. It’s a comical story about trusting God, yet it has its subtle and powerful moments of faith. After Evan has built the ark and the flood occurs and all is returned to normal, Evan asks God what he needs to do to prepare for the future. God tells him simply, “ARK.” Confused, Evan asks what that means, and God explains, “Acts of Random Kindness.”
While the movie is not intended as a commentary on salvation, if there were a short answer to our response to God’s grace of salvation, it would be very similar to that answer: “We ought to be busy doing Acts of Random Kindness (ARK).”
Not unlike Evan in the movie when he got consumed with the end date, in today’s Gospel people were concerned about the exact date of the end of the world or the second coming of the Lord. In response, Jesus tells his would-be disciples that the time is not as important as what they do now. He assures them he will be with them always if they will only trust in him and persevere in their discipleship. In the second reading, the author of the letter to the Thessalonians assures his listeners they need to be busy about the quality of their discipleship instead of being busybodies about other people’s actions and not working for their living. They need to persevere in their discipleship and trust God.
Imagine if all Christian disciples everywhere did not judge others but instead only did actions of kindness. If we did that consistently, our actions would always speak louder than our words. Gandhi once said that he thought highly of Christianity and would be more convinced by Christ’s words if his followers actually observed them.
Soon we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day, and it is an opportunity to say thanks to God by doing some random acts of kindness to others. Maybe it can be to our family members, or maybe to the person we will meet in the store or community, maybe it is to a person who we do not like or does not like us. Whatever it is, may we choose to be busy about the right things in life: May we choose to act upon our wonderful gift of faith in Christ. May we choose to act as Christ acted, forgiving, loving, caring for others. Think of something kind to do for someone who needs it. Today may we practice our Christian faith not just in words but in action by ARK: Acts of Random Kindness.