Today, we commemorate and honor the memory of Tempest Kayne Smith, whom I declared a martyr last year. She died February 20, 2001 as the direct result of the relentless bullying and harassment she received from those who could have (and should have) been her friends, and those who could have and should have done something to protect her and defend her rights (the faculty and staff at her school) did nothing and apparently claim to have not know what was happening.
Words can wound just as well as bullets or knives, and those wounds often don’t heal as well. And at twelve years of age, time moves so slowly.
And here I depart from what many consider to be standard teaching. When someone is shot with a bullet, I blame the person who did the shooting, not the one who was shot. And so, I do not hold it against her that she died by her own hand. Especially after having “worn similar shoes”.
Today’s Holy Communion marks the first Sunday in Lent. And, in the Gospel for today, we have a story familiar to most of us – Jesus’ time fasting in the wilderness for 40 days after his baptism by John. And, it gives us a good chance to look at Lent and what it is supposed to be for us.
The problem is, in childhood many of us saw Lent as a time of no candy, giving up something we like, and what amounted to self-punishment. While penance is a part of Lent, there is much,m much more to it than that, and in fact there’s something in it worth looking forward to.
Today’s homily deals with what might well be one of the most mis-understood and mis-applied words in the English language – charity. St Paul writes about it because it is indeed extremely important.
The trouble is, some people don’t understand its meaning, and others don’t understand its true importance – especially in light of its actual meaning. And to do it right, you need to know what to do! And with that, all the more power to a sacrament!
With the Sacrament, an Epistle reading that might be familiar to some, a Gospel reading that most of you have heard many times, and a connection that I only recently noticed. St Paul got hassled, even though he was, at least in terms of what people claimed to count, among the better of the same people that were giving him so many problems! And if you look at the Parable of the Sower and realize what’s different between us and the seeds that were sown, you might see how they relate.
NOTE: Apologize for the less-than-perfect chapel today. Things will soon be improving, especially once I get full-time control of that facility.