September 10, 2017 – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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I’m not a morning person. I sigh as I hear my morning alarm from my iPhone go off: “Don’t worry, be happy.”

I set at least two, if not more, alarms every morning. I believe one of the greatest inventions known to civilized humanity is the snooze button.

Yet I am becoming a little more appreciative, and in need of, alarms throughout my day—not just for awaking.

You see, I can get lost in web searching, game-playing, and just ordinary minor-task stuff of everyday life. If I am not careful, I can wind up wasting a morning and then feeling guilty about all I didn’t get done.

While I don’t like alarms, they really can be helpful to:

  1. Get my attention
  2. make me STOP.
  3. Help me reflect. And see how I might be running on “automatic pilot”; that is, acting without thinking. You know, just falling into routines and habits.

As I prayed over the readings this weekend, I hear a theme of divine alarms:

In the first reading from Ezekiel, God invites us to be willing to be loving alarms to those we see who might be turned away from God’s way. We are told not to shy away from being reminders from God to help others turn back towards God.

In the second reading to the Romans, St. Paul shows us how the commandments are alarms which help us wake up and focus on living lives pleasing to God.

In our gospel reading from Matthew, Jesus (like Ezekiel) is very clear about our responsibility to be alarms for one another. We aren’t alarms because we are perfect. We are alarms because God uses faulted, broken human instruments to help us all hear God’s invitation to turn toward him, to seek more closeness through continual turning toward God.

God knows our human weakness and lets us know “where two or three are gathered…”

So, I would offer us these questions:
–who are the alarms God uses to you get your and my attention…who wake us up?
–who might God be inviting us to serve as His alarms to draw them closer to Himself?

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