Most of us have lived through both challenging and peaceful times. And because we've experienced both, we have perspective. But that doesn't mean that we don't feel anxious when we are in the midst of a storm, whether literally like the recent hurricane, Ida, or the U.S. and refugee evacuation from Afghanistan.
Once the Olympics were over, athletes who won medals returned home to applause and in some instances, parades! No so with Jesus. He returned home and joined others for a service in the synagogue. He rose to speak and said the spirit of the Lord had sent Him to bring glad tidings to the poor. There was no applause or parades. The reaction was mixed. Some were amazed that such words could come from His mouth since they remember Him as a young man, and they knew His parents, Joseph and Mary.
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The threshold between life and death is a place of radical poverty. For popes and for princes, for celebrated millionaires and for unknown derelicts, death demands the same absolute dispossession that delivers the soul into the hands of God. Embracing such poverty is fearful and repugnant to many. For those who have exercised their hearts in the desire for heavenly things, however, it can be a moment of liberation and, even, of joy.
Last week Fr. Jim Lies and Fr. Willy dropped by my office. As I updated them about Father Peyton’s Cause for Sainthood, Fr. Lies asked me about my Mom and then said, "you know, our mothers are all candidates for sainthood." There was complete agreement.
In today’s gospel, Matthew tells us we must be prepared to meet the Lord at any time, because we do not know when he is coming. How can we prepare? I came across an article from Our Sunday Observer in which Pope Francis identified ten secrets for being happy and I think they will also help us be prepared to meet the Lord.
Our grandchildren are getting ready to go back to school, one to university, another secondary school, a second-grader, and a kindergartener. Different levels, yet they are all about learning, growing, and changing. Education is, I think, based on the promise that there is always more to learn, and founded on hope, it will enrich our appreciation for our lives and our community with others.