(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy school community on Thursday morning, 30 October 2014)
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.
There is an ancient Chinese parable about an old man who knew he would soon die. He wanted to know what Heaven and hell were like. So, he visited a wise man in his village to ask “Can you tell me what Heaven and hell are like?” The wise man led him down a strange path, deep into the countryside. Finally, they came upon a large house with many rooms and went inside. Inside they found lots of people and many enormous tables with an incredible array of food, all sorts of meats and fish, piles of rice, fruits and vegetables, and wonderful desserts. Then the old man noticed a strange thing, the people, all thin and hungry, were holding chopsticks 3 feet long. They tried to feed themselves, but of course could not get the food to their mouths with such long chopsticks.
The old man then said to the wise man “Now I know what hell looks like, will you please show me what Heaven looks like?” The wise man led him down the same path a little further until they came upon another large house similar to the first. They went inside and saw almost the same scene: bountiful food and people with chopsticks 3 feet long. However, in this house the many people were well fed and happy, despite the long chopsticks. This puzzled the old man and he asked, “I see all of these people have 3 foot chopsticks too, yet they are well fed and happy, please explain this to me.” The wise man replied, “In Heaven we feed each other.”
In Heaven we feed each other.
If we want to experience the joy of heaven here on earth we must do likewise—reaching out to assist those in need—a kind word to a classmate who seems to be feeling down and out of sorts, a visit to an elderly relative who is homebound, an e-mail to a friend who is out of school sick, a favor for a parent or a teacher or a student. Yes, Heaven is as simple as reaching out to another with love and compassion and care.
And Hell–Hell is as simple as living as self-absorbed, self-centered persons whose eyes are fixed only on the rich food and the 3 foot long chopsticks, lost in their own frustration, blinded to what can bring them relief.
My dear friends, the choice is ours—today, tomorrow, and for all eternity.
Let us pray.
God of all good things, You surround us with your bounty, all the blessings of life. Help us to remember that, unable to take hold of these blessings by ourselves, it is in loving each other, in assisting each other, that these blessings become available to each one of us. AMEN.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts…forever.
Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC