Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1
Today I will lend you my strength in whatever way I am able. You are welcome to my experience of suffering, humor, joy, depression, peace, anxiety, and the hope I have found by walking through the valleys, climbing the mountains, and leaning on the Lord. This is the comfort I offer you.
“Jesus said to his disciples, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’” Matthew 25:35-36
There are many people I know or have known who struggle to recover from addiction and stay sober.
So when I opened the rectory office door to a young woman who greeted me with: “Hi! I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic!” — my spontaneous reaction was delight and a loud “Yay!”
“I know, hey?” she said with a smile that matched mine and made her eyes shine with godly brilliance.
She wanted to receive Communion. Had I known where the key to the Tabernacle was kept, I would have taken her to the chapel and served her. As it was, I invited her into the rectory and said to the priest, “This young lady would like to receive Communion.”
He barely acknowledged her and kept his eyes on his computer while he said, “I’ll meet you in the chapel in ten minutes.”
The light faded out of her face. She looked at him, assessing him, maybe judging him. “Thanks,” she said, “But it’s almost time for lunch. I have to go.”
At the door, I wished her well, sketched a Sign of the Cross over her, and made a silent prayer that she continue on the hard road of recovery.
Sometimes it is my failures to feed others that show me how to do better the next time. May I continue to have opportunities.
Jesus told his disciples this parable: “A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–to each according to his ability.” Matthew 25:14-15
I am imagining another scenario: the man gave a fourth servant half a talent. This servant bought bread with the talent and distributed it to the poor, the widows, the orphans, the lame, and the ill. When the man returned from his journey, all of those who had received bread were waiting to give him thanks.
What would the man say to the servant to whom he had given half a talent?
Sometimes it is necessary to be countercultural, to refuse to contribute to a system that seeks its own gratification and forgets those in need.
James Tissot (1836-1902) Les pharisiens questionnent Jésus gouache over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum
“Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
My purpose for today and every day: to love as Jesus commanded — not asked, but commanded.
Love has many aspects: kindness, respect, courtesy, civility, compassion, patience, humility, forgiveness.
Today I will follow Jesus and choose one aspect of love to practice with God, myself, and my neighbor.