There never has and likely never will be another end of summer like this year’s. We are all entering into the fall with sketchy plans and wondering how this is all going to play out. Educators are feverishly working to put in place good experiences for their students. Parents are searching to ﬁnd solutions for too many problems, whether working remotely or in some hybrid model of their children’s education. Everyone is anxious about COVID and its possible return in the weeks ahead. Yes, this is an unprecedented autumn.
Is there a place to go to ﬁnd relief? Is there a formula that makes dealing with all of the ambiguities and challenges possible? I think there is. It begins with an examination of our expectations: why what we think is important really is important. It continues with carefully reviewing what truly matters the most and why it does.
This process means locating my life and that of my family and friends, in a bigger picture that moves outside of the box of my usual customs and familiarities and perhaps my comfort zone. For example, this morning a young dad, in responding to my question about how his family is doing, replied a lot was very uncertain and worrisome. However, he had a job and so they are blessed.
The young mother and father then explained how grateful they are that their three beautiful children are healthy and happy, and that the Sunday morning is beautiful.
I believe that one of the most potent resources we have to respond to this terribly hard time is gratitude. That may seem a paradox and I guess it sort of is one. Nonetheless, gratitude ﬂows from a wisdom that recognizes that God is active, present constantly, and is always close at hand. “Count your Blessings” is not a simplistic piece of advice from of old. It is an enduring piece of wisdom.
Often, to be implemented, it requires placing my moment in a context bigger than my private expectations and thus recognizing God’s ﬁngerprints on everything. For myself, such an awareness causes me to utter, “thank you!”
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time September 5/6, 2020
In Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans he suggests that God lavishes his love upon us through Jesus Christ, who calls us to the kind of loving relationship, if we so choose it, that demands accountability. It is like, in Saint Paul’s vocabulary, a kind of “debt” that we can never “pay-in full.” But we begin to repay by following the direction of one of the most familiar statements in the Bible: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Good stewards realize that God does not call them just to love those who are easy to love, but to love the unloved and the hard-to-love people in this world as well.
This week, remind yourself: “I am put here as an ambassador of God’s love.”