Monday, August 12, 2013

Angels in our midst-August 11 homily

Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. (Heb 13:2)Today's second reading is particularly meaningful. It gives a definition of faith. It says that faith "is the realization of things hoped for and evidence of things not seen." It tells the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I want to share with you another amazing story-a story of a woman who responded to a crisis situation-with faith-again, "realization of things of hoped for and evidence of things not seen." Katie Lentz was hit head on by a drunk driver on Sunday August 4th on an isolated stretch of Missouri highway. Emergency crews battled over an hour to rescue her but they couldn't free her from the car wreck. Lentz requested a moment of prayer (out loud) and a priest appeared. He anointed her with oil, said that she would be freed and encouraged the workers to stay calm. When the workers stopped to thank him, he was gone. Fire chief Raymond Reed said "a sense of calmness came over her and us as well." The highway had been blocked off for a quarter of a mile in each direction. To quote Reed "As a first responder you don't know what you are going to run into. We have a lot of tools and intensive training. In this particular case, it is my feeling that it was nothing more than sheer faith and nothing short of a miracle." Katie has a broken wrist and several broken ribs but friends say her spirits have been boosted by her divine intervention. What a wonderful story. It is a great example of putting into practice the definition of faith-she prayed (realization of things hoped for) and sure enough God sent an angel to rescue her and give comfort to the first responders (the appearance of the priest was evidence of things not seen). This encourages me in my faith journey as well. The story is very biblical. Frequently we have seen this. There is a crisis and God sends an angelic intervention. In the book of Daniel Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace. The Scripture account says "the flames rose 49 cubits above the furnace and spread out." Then the bible says "the angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with Azariah and his companions." And what happened? The angel "drove the fiery flames out of the furnace, and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it." It says "the fire in no way touched them or caused them harm. Then the three with one voice sang, praising God: "Blessed are you O Lord, the God of our ancestors, praiseworthy and exalted forever; and Blessed is your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted for all ages." The King was startled and asked his counselors "did we not cast three men bound into the fire? Certainly, they answered, but I see four men unbound and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a Son of God." In Acts 12 we read of the miraculous escape of Peter from jail. The bible says: "On the very night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter, secured by double chains, was sleeping between two soldiers, while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison. Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shone in his cell. He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him saying, Get up quickly. The chains fell from his wrists, The angel said to him put on your belt and your sandals. He did so. Then he said to him Put on your cloak and follow me. So he followed him out, not realizing that what was happening through the angel was real." These are all stories to encourage us. Perhaps you are in a trial situation-follow the example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago. In my own family my mother swears that it was a guardian angel that saved my brother life. He had epiglottitis she rushed him to the hospital passing through red lights. they rushed him into the emergency room, and the hospital went into Code. A priest happened to come by and anoint him. They performed a tracheotomy and the doctors said if he had waited an hour he would have died. He came out of the surgery perfectly fine. Katie Lentz' story is amazing and it is simple. I hope it inspires you to believe that there are angels in our midst. That is why Jesus says: "Do not be afraid any longer little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom." In the Father's kingdom there are angels-just when we need them.

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