Last homily of Fr. Robert J. Kus at St. Mary Parish
Today Catholic Christians celebrate the feast of the birth of St. John the Baptist. On this day, we hear about a man sent by God to herald the coming of the Messiah, a man named John. In today’s Scripture passage from St. Luke, we get a glimpse into what kind of man John would become – and did become – when we read,
“What, then, shall this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him. The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the desert until the day of his manifestation to Israel (Luke 1: 80).
Though God chose St. John the Baptist for a unique role in salvation history, God is also at work in our lives. Like John, the hand of the Lord is also with us, and like John, we too are called to “grow and become strong in spirit” by virtue of our baptism.
For the past twelve years, you and I have helped each other grow and flourish. Together, we have shared our lives and created a wonderful parish, a parish filled with joy, love, energy and a missionary spirit. Now, though, it is time for me to move on to the next chapter of my life, and it is a time for you to prepare to welcome two fine new people into your lives – Father Ryszard and Father Chesco. They are fine men, and I am sure you will shower them with the same love you showered me during the past 12 years.
I will continue to pray for you, and I ask you to pray for me as I journey to the mountains of Honduras to serve a missionary priest.
And remember that all of us are always in the “state of becoming.” We should never become static. Therefore, I would like to leave you with one of my favorite poems about how God continually operates in our lives to help us grow. The poem is “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra B. Welch.
‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But he held it up with a smile.
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start bidding for me?
A dollar, a dollar – now who’ll make it two _
Two dollars, and who’ll make it three?
“Three dollars once, three dollars twice,
Going for three” . . . but no!
From the room far back a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet,
As sweet as an angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said: “What am I bidden for the old violin?”
And he held it up with the bow;
“A thousand dollars – and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand – and who’ll make it three?
Three thousand once, three thousand twice
And going – and gone,” said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand -
What changed its worth?” The man replied:
“The touch of the masters hand.”
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and torn with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd.
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on,
He’s going once, and going twice -
He’s going – and almost gone!
But the MASTER comes, and the foolish crowd,
Never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul, and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the MASTER’S hand.
And that is the good news I have for you on this Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, 2018.
Myra B. Welch. “The Touch of the Master’s Hand.”