This last week, my family got to go to Mohican, to the lodge there in Mohican. As a kid, we used to go together as a family once a summer for a week every year. If you don’t know what Mohican lodge is, it’s about an hour-and-a-half away from here. It’s down on a lake called Pleasant Hill Lake. There’s camping all around, so this is where a lot of people go camping. But they have a lodge there that’s a wonderful place. My sister just graduated. She got her degree in Occupational Therapy, and we were trying to find a way to celebrate, and she said, “What I would most like is to have our family be together at Mohican.” So, this last week we went for just a couple of days on my day off, and we got to go to Mohican together. Now, the interesting thing is, it’s been 15 years since I’ve been there. Our family hasn’t gone in 15 years. Everybody has kids, so life is just different than it used to be.
When we got there, it was amazing because the place hasn’t changed. It looks the same. It’s still clean, but nothing has changed in 15 years. For us, it was very nostalgic. We saw the different rooms and looked out at the lake, walked the paths down by the lake, played shuffleboard, and did all those things you do at the lodge there. What was so beautiful was showing our nieces and nephews, my siblings’ kids, all these things for the first time. But what I noticed after a while was that the kids would have to be coaxed into doing something. I’ll give you an example. The first day I got there, they were done with the pool already. They were sitting around; they were bored. I got there about 5:00 because we had something during the day here with the staff. I said, “Let’s get in the pool and play.” They’re like, “Eh; we don’t really want to go back in.” I said, “No, come one, it will be so much fun.” So I jumped in the pool. One of my nieces has this weird thing she likes to do with me; it’s called the robot. She sits on my shoulders, I hold my fingers up, and she steers me; she controls me. I said to her, “Let’s do the robot in the water; wouldn’t that be cool?” She says, “No, I don’t want to do it; I don’t want to do it.” So anyway, I finally get them to come in the water. We had such a fun time that we play until sunset, and now it’s time to get out of the water. What do they say when you have to get out of the water? “I don’t want to get out of the water; I want to stay in the water.” We have to get out of the water, we’re going to have a fire, and we’re going to play shuffleboard. “I don’t want to play shuffleboard.” I try to tell them, “Let’s just try to play for a little.” They play for a little while, and they love it. The next day comes, we sit by the pool for a little bit, and we will go for a boat ride. We rented a boat, an eighteen-person boat, we’re going to go out on the lake. Guess what they said? “I don’t want to go on the lake.” “Come on; it will be fun!” We get on the boat, we start going around the lake, and before you know it, they’re starting to get bored. I’m thinking to myself, “How do you get the board on a boat, on a lake, in this midst of nature. It’s so beautiful.” Then I think, “These are video game kids; they want their video games. I’m trying to find fun things to do, and I said, “How about if we stop by the beach? There’s a beach over there; we could jump off the boat, we could swim to the beach and pick up rocks and seashells and things like that.” Did they want to do it? No, of course not. I end up coaxing them in the water, putting a life jacket on them, showing them how they can float in their life jacket. They’re terrified at first, but I’m trying to tell them, “Look, you just float; that’s all you have to do.” We do that, and, of course, they love it; they can’t get enough of it. Then they don’t want to leave the water; they don’t want to get back on the boat. So we get them on the boat, and I tell them, “Hey, there’s these really cool fish right by the dock. You can feed them, and they’re huge.” “I don’t want to feed the fish.” I’m like, “Try it with me. It’ll be fun.” So we go over there, and I buy a dollar’s worth of fish food, feed the fish, and they’re amazed by this. “Can you buy more?” So I go and buy more. One of my nieces is just going like this, just taking the fish food and not even looking. I’m like, “Would you at least look at the cool fish that are coming up to the food?”
Then we’re going to go horseback riding. They didn’t want to go horseback riding. I finally said to them, “When are you going to trust me? If I tell you there’s something fun to do, when are you just going to say, ‘Oh, if Uncle Mike says it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be fun?” Their parents look at me like; you’re crazy, they don’t understand that.
I was thinking of them, and I wanted to show them something with each adventure I was taking them on. I wanted to share something from my own childhood that I loved. They didn’t want to do each adventure at first, and then when they finally did it, they loved it. Then when it was time for it to be over, they didn’t want to go to the next adventure. They just wanted to stay on that adventure.
What I realized is that God is always taking us on an adventure. So, we and I realize with myself sometimes I‘m like a child. Sometimes I don’t want to go and do the thing that God wants me to do. For some reason, it’s new. It’s a new experience. I don’t trust it. I don’t want to go. Then I go, and I love it. Then the next thing that happens is this happens to me when I transfer parishes; I don’t want to leave the parish once I’m there, and then God takes me to another parish, and I love it. But we’re so resistant to trust Him.
We hear in the Gospel that Jesus tells us that God wants to teach us something. He says that “God shall teach them all.” Every experience in our lives, God is teaching us something. He is not only teaching us something, but when God teaches us something, it’s wonderful. It’s amazing. It’s a miracle. It’s the most fulfilling thing that we could be doing if He teaches it to us. I invite every one of us to think about that in our lives. Wherever we are in our life, maybe right now we are supposed to enjoy it. Or if something is changing in our lives, maybe God is taking us on a new adventure. Or if God’s inviting us to do something new, maybe it’s OK to let go of the old thing.
I know this is a time where you’re getting back to school and the kids. Some of you may be empty nesters for the first time, and you have to let go of your children, and all of a sudden, it is just the two of you at home. You could be sad or look at it as this is a new adventure for husband and wife. Kids, maybe yourselves. Maybe you are going into high school and are afraid of it, or maybe going into college or trying to find a job and part of you is terrified or anxious. Well, maybe this is a wonderful adventure that God is inviting you on. Maybe this is just a time of your life that you would rather not be in a state or situation or a job or whatever it may be. Maybe it’s OK. Maybe for right now, God is teaching you something. God wants you to find joy in your current situation. I think we are all like little kids in that sense. We’re resistant to go on the adventure that God wants to take us on. We’re resistant to not get bored at the moment when we are there in the moment. And we’re resistant to move on when He wants us to move on. But if only we could trust that in all these experiences, He is teaching us something. When God teaches us something, it’s never something boring, it’s something amazing, something wonderful, and something awesome, and ultimately, He’s teaching us about His son Jesus.
The greatest moment of our week that we have of God teaching us something is right here. Mass on Sunday. Sometimes we don’t feel like coming to mass on Sundays. Right? Sometimes we’re tired. Sometimes we’re busy. Sometimes whatever it may be, but this is the opportunity above all that we don’t want to miss because we hear from Him in the word, and we receive Him in the sacrament.
I invite us all to allow ourselves to be taught by God. Like I was trying to tell my nieces and nephews, “When are you going to get to the point that you can trust me? I’m only going to bring you to something fun.” It’s the same thing with God, “When are you going to get to the point where you can trust me? I’m only going to bring you on a wonderful adventure.”
Today as we celebrate to receive His very body and blood, let us take this with trust as we receive Him that He’s inviting us on a great adventure and that He wants to teach us about His Son.