Simon and those who were with him pursued [Jesus] and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.” Mark 1:36-37
Let me look for Jesus in the eyes and hearts of those I encounter, in the pain I’m suffering, in the suffering of others, in distant or close companionship, in the quiet of prayer, in the holy scriptures.
Then [Simon and his brother Andrew] abandoned their nets and followed him. Mark 1:18
Today’s readings are full of movement: Jonah begins a three-day journey; the people of Nineveh put on sackcloth as a sign of repentance; in Psalm 25 we exhort God to guide us in God’s truth; Paul reminds us the world as we know it is passing away; Jesus invites Simon and Andew, James and John to come after him and the fishermen follow him.
What do my daily actions show? Am I moving closer to the goodness and love in my heart? Am I following Jesus’ way of compassion and peace? Am I inviting others to walk with me as I discover how to love and forgive?
Today I will begin a journey of kindness and respect towards all people.
Though darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds, the peoples, Upon you the LORD will dawn, and over you his glory will be seen. Isaiah 60:2
Today I will not let the darkness of the pandemic, political posturing, and social tumult cover me. I will shine the glory of God’s love and compassion and comfort in my home, workplace, and community to help dissipate the clouds of fear, unrest, and discord that trouble our world.
“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.