by Ken Rolheiser
Rise, let us be on our way

“I was too young and now I’m too old,” sounds like the excuse to get us out of serving the Lord.

The average age of people living in our military retirement community is 85. Recently, a neighbor turned 100, and a big birthday party was thrown. Even his son turned up.
“How old are you?” a tenant asked.
“I’m 81 years old,” he answered.
The tenant shook her head. “They sure grow up fast, don’t they?”

I thought I should share a few gems I gleaned about old age:
Regular naps prevent old age, especially if you take them while driving. Author Unknown
At my age, flowers scare me. George Burns
True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country. Kurt Vonnegut
You know you’re getting old when you get that one candle on the cake. It’s like, “See if you can blow this out.” Jerry Seinfeld
It’s not that I’m afraid to die; I just don’t want to be there when it happens. Woody Allen

Everyone has special God-given talents and gifts to be used in service to others. God called Abraham at ninety-nine to be a father of many nations. Abraham fell face down laughing. But Sarah did have Isaac when she was ninety.

Moses was eighty when he saw the burning bush (Exodus 3) and the Lord called him to lead his people out of Egypt. And the Lord was with him through many fascinating trials and adventures.

God calls us at every age to “Go you also into my vineyard” (Matthew 20:4). It matters not the hour or our age. Recently a former student of mine was ordained into the priesthood at fifty-five years.

Our reward shall be generous irrespective of the hour when we started working. The invitation is to go quickly. Be ready with loins girt – that is, tie our robes tightly so we can move quickly, like the Jews fleeing Egypt.

With God it is not a question of if he will assist us or answer our prayers; it is a question of when. Believe and it shall be so.

God wants to hire us today. He will work alongside us with the Spirit to guide us. It may be as simple as telling people how God changed your life. God can do the same for them.

We are neither too young nor too old to serve. You cannot look far in any direction before you see someone or something that needs your special talent.

At the funeral of Pope John Paul II Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) made reference to John Paul’s second last book Rise, Let us be on our Way. In the book St John Paul interprets his priesthood with reference to three saying of the Lord.

First: "You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last" (John 15:16). The second saying is: "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). And then: "As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love" (John 15:9).

St John Paul went everywhere, untiringly, and often by jet, to bear fruit, fruit that will last. His spirit motivates us today to "Rise, Let us be on our Way!"

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