Most parish priests spend a good bit of time in ministry to the sick and dying. Frankly, I consider it to be a very beautiful ministry. It is such a privilege to be allowed into their lives at such a critical time.
It seems when we are living in the midst of our mortality, our view of life is acutely focused. One can see with a greater clarity how the past has been spent and what things are of true value. The closeness of God to a person who is suffering is profound to observe, even when the person is not that conscious of this truth. Frequently, a priest or other chaplain can help make that truth more obvious and thus, more a source of comfort.
The other day I spent time with a wonderful young man who has suffered a stroke. Recovery may or may not ever be complete. The man, who is a husband and father, spoke passionately of his love for his wife and children, while acknowledging how much life has changed for him and his entire family. Life is different now. That which is most important and which has the highest priorities has evolved. It seems most ironic that my young friend may now come to know even greater meaning, happiness, and joy in his life than before.
I am not suggesting that a chronic illness is needed to find happiness! Only that in life, things happen that cause us to re-assess our life and our choices, our priorities and the things we take for granted. All that might mean some trauma and changes. It can also mean a clarifying and purifying of one’s life – opening to the bigger questions and most important issues that have the capacity to be most fulfilling. And, when one’s journey is approached in faith – it is easier to find that God is close always, and especially when the ground seems to be falling away beneath us.
Maybe what it all comes down to is how we choose to live day by day. Too often, we live today with an eye to tomorrow and never really live TODAY. Each day is a gift – to be received with profound gratitude, to be cherished and used as the Giver of the gift intended! Don’t waste today because you have some planning to do for tomorrow. Live fully today – in faith and love – for you will never see it again.
Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Weekend of July 27/28, 2019
A prominent theme in today’s Gospel parable is generosity. Late at night, a sleepy friend responds to his neighbor’s request for food for an unexpected guest. Jesus suggests that it would be unthinkable for a friend to deny a friend in need. A friend would most certainly give what is asked and more. Through this story, Jesus illustrates God’s generosity. Good stewards realize the extraordinary love and graciousness with which God showers us. We need never convince God to be generous. God is already that generous friend. His abundant love bathes us in goodness. This week, prayerfully reflect on God’s generosity to us. What should our response be to that generosity?