Matthew 28: 16 - 20
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17 And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
I heard this gospel twice in the last two days. It is a reassuring and commanding nostrum from the Risen Christ, to the eleven of the Apostle line-up. Judas did the Dutch Act, after selling the Boss out, remember.
Yesterday, I listened to this gospel during Tom Roeser's magnificent send-off at St. John Cantius Catholic Church on Chicago Ave. and Sangamon on the north side of Chicago. The place was packed and con-celebrated by seven priests. The liturgical music was transcendentally beautiful, unlike the more pop culture ditties embraced by licensed liturgists at too many parishes.
The gospel matched the music. You have been chosen by Christ to use His authority to make disciples of all nations.
Authority comes from the Latin word auctoritas
derived from the word auctor - "planter-cultivator". The word meant to augment or making greater by adding on to something.
I raise money at Leo High School, because I have been give the authority to do so via the Archdiocese,the Mission of Leo High School, the President for Institutional Advancement, the Alumni of Leo High School and the 501(c)3 standing of the high school with the Office of Catholic Schools. The money I raise, by that collective authority, adds on to Leo High School supplementing tuition costs, new programs, meeting utility increases, adding to the campus.
Our authority comes from a greater authority. We are told to do something with that authority. Tom Roeser defended the unborn, the canon of Catholic doctrine, the Bill of Rights, and the canons of taste and wit. God rest this merry gentleman. Tom's spirit and soul will not rest long be assured.
Today, after Mass and hearing this same gospel, I hiked my way to Kean Gas on 111th & Talman for a 20 oz. Dark Roast. Kean Gas is one of the very last family owned, full service gas stations in Chicago. Jimmy and Roli Kean have managed to preserve something of value in this Blackberry world. They hire young guys to check the antifreese, wiper fluid, oil, tires, wash windscreens and windows as well as pump gas.
This allows drivers an opportunity to pop in for coffee and pastries from Wolf's Bakery on 95th Street, chat and pick-up items forgotten on the last visit to County Fair Foods. Kean Brothers Gas helps keep us human in a small but vital way. Kean Gas is an urban Salon.
This morning, I bragged up the Leo Track team with young Jack Leiser, who's old man Tom is contemporary of mine and a rock-ribbed Leo Man. Jack jumps out to service people at the pumps. " Man six State Titles and with only six kids." You may say.
We were joined in short-order by Joe Murphy, another Leo Man and member of St. Cajetan Parish, whose sister teaches at St. Walter's Parish. Joe and I talked near his truck, from which he services air-conditioners. Joe works with many of the CPS schools. We talked about the Leo banquet last April and the impressive turn-out of young African American Alumni shepherded to the event by Mike Holmes, Mike Anderson, Mark Lee, Curtis Cooper, Ken Mason and Noah Cannon. These Lions have helped make the biggest increase in freshman enrollment at Leo in years.
While we were gabbing, Bill Letz another Leo Alumnus, teacher, coach/referee and soon to be retired pipe-fitter stopped at the air-pump with his ten speed. He spotted the knot of coffee fueled gabbers, " The Old Kean Country Store . . .!" Spot on, William! Human contact, communication and following the commands of the gospel . . .with colorful language and the occasional sexist trope, mind you.
Which brings me back to authority.
Murph asked me to have Mike Holmes, Leo football coach and director of admissions, give him a call to set up a parent meet and greet to let parents at St. Walter's know about the success and value of Leo High School. I assured Joe that Holmes would call him Tuesday night at the latest, as I have jury duty on Monday. In mid-chat a very old gentleman approached us.
" I started my car after church, but now the engine will not shut off. Can any of you gentlemen help me?"
This guy had a serious auto-problem and it is a Sunday. No auto shops are open.
Jack Leiser only checks fluids and pumps gas. Joe is a skilled building engineer. Bill Letz a pipe-fitter. I read books and shoot off my mouth for a living.
Jesus, we're sorry sir.
Joe Murphy whipped out his cell-phone and tried to call a guy who fixes cars in Merrionette Park. Murph reached the guy, but he was at his place in Michigan. Then, Joe remembered, "Pep Boys! They are open seven days a week, sir. They do a great job and will give you fair shake. They are on about 130th & Cicero."
The poor man needed a higher authority than a gas pump, engineer, pipefitter, flannel mouth educator, but he came to the right place. Joe Murphy knew.
The old gentleman thanked us and took his still running old Ford west on 111th Street.
It believe the Gospel authority message was fulfilled. It was as easy as getting coffee at Kean with good people.