“Race For Last Place”

Our trip continues. We are still in Michigan getting some good time with our daughter Cristin & family. We went to grandson Nick’s “Tae Kwon Do” class…. a Korean martial art with emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques…. yikes, I pulled a muscle just watching. Nick has developed quite a skill. We were later out to a great dinner with Jon & Cris celebrating son Owen’s graduation from 8th grade. Despite eating way too much, we had a great evening.  

Pretty tired at the end of the evening and ready to head home, I realized the house key was missing ….. auuuuugh. After searching and searching, praying, trying to remain peaceful, we headed back to the house without the key to meet the owner’s daughter. As I walked up to the door, there was the key right in the middle of the sidewalk…. It must have fallen our of my pocket when I left earlier. I was very relieved and happy that the Lord had answered our prayers. 

Today we met Mike & Barb Luea for mass and breakfast. They are  wonderful and holy friends of some 20 years… the parents of 5 great sons, including our son-in-law Jon, and a great daughter. It takes us about 30 seconds to get into  deep conversations about the Lord, family, life, etc. Mike has been a mentor to me in my “writing career”. He has written several short books on his life, primarily for his children and grandchildren and is always encouraging me to “put my thoughts down on paper”.  Mike and Barb are the best.

Let me leave you with a few thoughts on the feast day of St. Philip Neri. He was a great saint know for many things including his joy and humility. He said, “let a man who desires the first place take the last”…. yes, Christianity is a race for last place. He’s also quoted as saying, “ it is a most useful thing to say often and from the heart, Lord do not put any confidence in me for I am sure to fail if you do not help me….and we must not trust in ourselves, but take the advice of our spiritual father and recommend ourselves to everybody’s prayers.” (Magnificat, May 26, 2021, P. 403)

Embracing this truth can bring great peace. Jesus emphasized this in today’s gospel from Mark 10:32-45 as he admonished James and John for seeking the first place….”whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all”. Disunity was brewing among the apostles because of James and John’s trying to maneuver into first place…the other apostles were indignant with them… Jesus set them straight. You want honor, you want rewards, you want first place, then become a servant, seek the last place. So for us who are usually not as honest as James and John and can put our request for “honor” in more politically correct terms, let’s learn this important truth and be servants. When we find ourselves in last place, let’s not “moan and groan” about it, but smile and thank God. When we are treated like servants, let’s act like true servants…. be joyful and smile and serve.  I’ll admit it’s not always easy and I’ve too often complained, but it brings deep peace when we get it right. Remember our savior was a servant. Are you smiling….do I see a smile on your face…

2 thoughts on ““Race For Last Place”

  1. Loved reading the update on the adventures of Lois and Clark. Also, very encouraging word from St Philip Neri. I remember mom read us a book one summer about him!


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