What Next?

150 150 St. Mary St. Catherine of Siena

I think most all of us were looking forward to September bringing in a new era of hope and returning to a style of living around the city free from the challenges and hard restrictions imposed by the pandemic. And now as we need to
start wearing masks again and the news from near and far is so grim, everyone has to dig deep to find a positive energy. On the one hand, one could look around and see people who are suffering in unimaginable ways, for example, in Haiti and in Afghanistan. On the other hand, every person and family searches to find his or her footing given our current reality.

Recently, I was writing to families of school-age children regarding our religious education program. Conscious of how very stressed parents are as the opening of school fast approaches, the last thing I wanted to do was to increase anxiety with a list of to do’s. As I think about these times, it seems to me that preparing ourselves and our children to grow more deeply in their faith is really not a task on a checklist, it is more a gift and a rich, valuable resource.

Standing with people who have undergone profound losses and setbacks throughout my many years as a priest has often offered me moments of inspiration, even edification. For it is when we find ourselves in some of our deepest holes or facing the steepest of mountains and feeling helpless that our faith can often lead us forward. It is, in fact, a tapping into the faith knowledge of the infinite power of God manifest in God’s unconditional love for each of us.

For the person of Jesus Christ is meant to be that ineffable resource and strength for anyone who so chooses to accept such a friendship. I fully realize this perspective does not make sense and is not an empirically verifiable way of living. Nonetheless, it is a truth.

The story of Jesus Christ has been known for more than 2000 years and prophesized long before. Christ represents an entire absolute truth that is not a relative or subjective one, rather absolute. This truth is not a history story, although it certainly has a deep history. It is an ongoing, alive reality deeply enmeshed in the lives of men and women every day.

Now we look to September 2021 with an uncertainty we thought we had left behind and yet it is back. For me, this uncertainty, which could easily induce fear and anxiety, worry and stress of every form, can also become an invitation. It is an invitation to turn towards my relationship with Jesus with deep confidence and abiding trust.

I do not know, and no one of us knows how this next chapter of the pandemic will unfold in Boston or in the world. However, we have resources both materially, medically, and more importantly, in our faith. This faith opens a landscape of traditions, values, teachings, and relationships that can and will sustain us no matter what comes next.

Fr. Ronan

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 28-29, 2021

In the reading from the letter of St. James we are urged to be “doers” of the Gospel, not
just listeners. Being a “steward” of God’s Word is a matter of listening to the Good
News, embracing the Good News and putting the Good News into action in our day-to
-day lives. And whenever we are uncertain as to what decisions to make or actions to
take as good stewards of the Gospel, St. James reminds us:
We can never go wrong if we resist popular values that are not compatible with the Gospel,
and we come to the aid of those who are burdened, distressed and poor.