Step back and take the long view

[The following homily is sometimes called ‘a prayer of Oscar Romero’ it is infract written composed by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw and was drafted for a homily by Card. John Dearden in 1979. The words remain poignant today. Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of San Salvador and was assassinated on March 24, 1980, while celebrating Mass in a small hospital chapel. He had, for many years, cared deeply for the people of the country and had been a prophetic voice El Salvador during a time of great injustice.]

It helps now and then to take a step back and take the long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete,
which is another way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection,
no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders,
ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

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