The Holy Family – The Homily
I’m really excited about my brand-new book, Lead with LUV, that I wrote with Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. The reason I’m excited about it – is that if I were asked to leave a legacy of my thinking today, it would be the following: The world is in desperate need of the message of love and people first.
If you know anything about Southwest Airlines, you know they’re all about love. (They sometimes spell it L-U-V because LUV is their symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.) They love their people – they love their customers – they love their work and take it seriously—but they don’t take themselves seriously.
For example, a colleague of mine was flying on Southwest recently when the attendant got on the public address system and said:
“You know, this is the last flight of the day and we’re really tired. To be honest with you, we don’t have the energy to pass out the peanuts, so we’re going to put them on the floor in the front the plane and when we take off and gain altitude, they’ll slide down the aisle. If you want some nuts, just grab them.”
And that’s what happened! The whole airplane was in hysterics—laughing, having fun, grabbing peanuts, passing them to their neighbors—just having a blast!
That’s leading with LUV. How different is that than your typical experience on most airlines, where everyone seems so uptight? That’s how you lead with LUV. No wonder Southwest is the only airline that has consistently turned a profit while the others have struggled.
This is just one of many heart-warming stories that don’t happen by accident. When an organization has happy people, happy customers, and happy shareholders, it’s because the leadership has created a culture that supports leading with LUV. So, how do you do that?
Simeon waited. He waited A LONG time. God didn’t come “quickly” but when He appeared, he appeared “suddenly.” And he was paying attention, he was aware of the moment, and received the blessing.
From Luke 22:36-38: And then there was Anna, the prophetess. She lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four worshiping in the Temple night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. God didn’t come “quickly” but when He appeared, he appeared “suddenly ‘ to Anna and she was paying attention. She was aware of the moment, and received the blessing.
Can we apply Ken Blanchard’s ideas to St. Monica? Lots of people came during Christmas. We knew they were coming. We prayed about them. I wrote about them in the parish bulletin and in two blog posts entitled Attracting & Keeping Parishioners Part 1 and Attracting & Keeping Parishioners Part 2.
- But will they come again?
- Will they come soon?
- Did they feel the LUV while they were here?
- How do WE, at St. Monica, “lead with LUV?” How different is the St. Monica experience to your typical experience in most churches? (Check out the article in today’s parish bulletin as well as last week’s parish bulletin).
- How do you welcome people into our St. Monica home when they “suddenly” appear?
How do you welcome Christ into your spiritual home?
How different was THIS YEAR’s St. Monica experience to your typical Advent / Christmas experience compared to most years?
Here’s a tip to integrate with your prayer life taken from Prayer – Our Deepest Longing by Father Ronald Rolheiser (BTW, this book was recently handed out to people who visited St. Monica during Christmas):
The monks say that God comes in the midst of the routine. You go to Mass week after week. You pray the same prayers and the same way day after day.
GOOD. The consistency and routine are key, not constantly waiting and hoping and expecting God to come in a huge and spectacular way. God often disappoints such requests. People who pray with consistency and faithfulness know they’re getting it right because, deep down, there’s a sense of peace. The prayer might be DRY, but there’s no despair. Something keeps pushing them to continue.
Anna waited and prayed patiently. Simeon waited and prayed patiently.
The Lord SUDDENLY appeared. Model your prayer life and expectations after them. And then, like them, you can say- NOW you can let your servant go in peace…..
Audio version of the homily is here: