Hold Your Horses!

May 12, 2024; Acts;1, 1-11; Ascension

When I was growing up—actually when I was the same age as the children making their first communion here today—my favorite possession was a record player. Now, people don’t use record players much anymore. So for those of you who don’t know about them, they are an old way of listening to music. There is a turntable that goes round and round. Then you put a record, a flat disk with grooves on it, onto the turntable, and it goes round and round. Then you carefully pick up an arm with a needle in it, and you place it on the edge of the record. As the needle moves in the grooves, you hear music.

I loved my record player. But there was one problem: my little sister Margie. She was three years younger than me, so when I was eight, she was five. And she wanted to play with my record player. Now everybody in this church knows that a five-year-old is too little to play with a record player! But she kept asking me, “George, can I play with your record player?” And I would say, “No, you’ll break it. You’re too little. Keep your hands off my record player!”

Well, one day I came home from school, and I heard music coming out of my bedroom. When I opened the bedroom door, there was Margie playing a record on my record player. She smiled at me and said, “See, I can do it.” “Out,” I said, “Get out of my bedroom!” Then, of course, I went straight to my mom: “Mom, Margie’s playing with my record player. She doesn’t know what buttons to push. She could scratch the records. She could break it. She could ruin everything. You have to stop her, now!”

I don’t know if your mother ever used sayings or expressions to make a point. But my mother did. And here is the expression she used when I went to complain about my sister. She said “George, hold your horses. Hold your horses!” When I first heard this, I didn’t know what she was talking about, because I didn’t have any horses. (I did ask for a pony for my birthday, but that is a different story.) But hold your horses means, “Calm down! Don’t jump on a horse and ride away. Be quiet and still, and we can work this out.” And that’s what my mom said to me: “George, hold your horses. Your record player is not broken. The records are not scratched. I will talk to Margie. We will put your records up on a shelf where she can’t reach them. We can make all of this good.”

In today’s first reading, Jesus tells the apostles to hold their horses. They are anxious to go out and spread the good news to the whole world. But Jesus says, “Wait. Calm down. Stay in Jerusalem until you receive the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit’s power, you can face whatever comes.” There are times when Jesus asks us to hold our horses. It can be when something bad happens to us and we become upset, when there is a problem in our family, a health issue, when we lose someone that we love. Jesus says, “Calm down. Take a breath. Know that I am with you, and because I am with you, we will face the future together, day by day.”

This is, of course, the gift that we receive in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist Christ comes to dwell with us. And when Christ is with us, we can face our problems calmly and with confidence. So, as these children make their First Communion today, let it be a reminder to us of what we have received: the very presence of Christ in our life. With Christ there is no need to be upset or depressed. Because Christ is with us in every crisis and in every circumstance, we can live peacefully in his love.

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