This homily was given by Deacon Leo Coughlin at a Mass on June 26 honoring Sister of St.Joseph Margaret McNaughton upon her retirement from St. Michael Cathedral Parish in Springfield.
In our Gospel today we hear Jesus say to his disciples follow me, but
a few had excuses of why they couldn’t just follow.
We learn that discipleship means leaving all that we have and
trusting in God. This surrender to God is different for each one of
Well, this weekend we are honoring our beloved Sr. Margaret
McNaughton, who on July 1, 2016 will be entering her 68th year as a
sister of St. Joseph. Sixty-eight years ago Sr. Margaret said yes to
Jesus and has followed Jesus ever since. It would take the better
part of this Mass to highlight all the wonderful accomplishments of
this beautiful Sister.
More to the point-just imagine that you were a young woman or man and
knew that this path of religious life was your calling. Every day I
stand in awe of all these fearless warriors of Our Lord. Many are
called, but few are chosen for a lifetime of service and devotion to
our Church. All of our sisters and priests, Sr. Eileen, Msgr. CC1,
but especially today, Sr. Margaret McNaughton.
What makes these people different from the rest of us? I have thought
about this many times…pure faith…plain and simple. Faith in the spirit
of God our Father, his holy Son and the holy Spirit that binds us all
Through these gifts, they give to us the love of God through all that
they accomplish every hour, every day, every year of their lives. We
love our sisters and priests.
Just as Mary said YES to the angel Gabriel, our Sr. Margaret said YES to Jesus.
My personal interactions with Sister are always eventful and with
great insight. She’s probably thinking what is he talking about? This
guy from Boston. Well, many times during our conversations, she will
pass on a great thought or idea or will tell me about a moving homily
she may have heard in the past.
Sr. reminded me of a homily she heard years ago. It went like this.
When we die and hopefully we get in to Heaven, there will be 3
surprises waiting for us.
1st WOW! I made it.
2nd. WOW! He/she made it
And 3rd as you look around and see the many people who are in Heaven
because of what you did to help them.
I told Sr. Margaret there will be thousands of people who are in
Heaven because of her.
So as you reflect on the Gospel, put yourselves in the shoes of the
disciples. What would we have done if Jesus asked us to drop
everything and follow Him? Would we have made excuses? Like some of
the disciples. More importantly, what are we doing today June 26th,
Are we doing what our Lord asked of us today? He is not asking us to
drop everything and leave our families or possessions, as he did with
1. He is asking us to LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS not just your next door
neighbors, but all of our neighbors. How are we doing with that?
2. He is asking us to pray daily. How are we doing with that?
3. He is asking us to honor our father and mothers. How are we doing
There are others that Jesus wants us to do. We know what they are.
How are we doing with those?
Just as our Mother Mary and Sr. Margaret said Yes to our Lord, we
have said Yes also, but along the way we may have slipped in one area
or another. The good thing is our Lord is always there to forgive and
lift us up because he is a loving, and most importantly of all, a
If we live our lives the way our Lord wants us to, then when we are
called home we will have those three surprises waiting for us. Thank
you Lord for promising us Eternal Salvation, IF we live the life you
want us to.
And thank you Sr. Margret for this homily, just like you…short and oh so sweet!