Happy Father's Day to all our dads. Enjoy this beautiful day!
A true story reminds us of the message in this weekend's scripture readings that God is watching over us. "A moment of change for a man named Gary came while he was in solitary confinement in prison. He felt forgotten by the authorities and in the silence of a cell, decided that his life had to change. He knew what his life had been until the age of 11. He had parents who went to church and raised him right. When his parents died, he moved in with an aunt who provided him a place to sleep but little else. He floundered on his own and ended up in prison.
In solitary, he decided to stop what got him into prison and get back to what he was like earlier. He was talking to God the whole time, and he got it straight. That's the way it was going to be.
When the guards finally came to let him out of solitary, he said, "Leave me here a while longer; I'm not done yet." Once he got out, he was a different person and changed his life radically." (This true story is from Fr. Thomas Rochford SJ, in Jesuits Central and Southern reporting on the prayer ministry of Anne Osdieck. To see the full article, go to: https://jesuitscentralsouthern.org/story?tn=project-20141204014453)
Life has its challenges and changes. You know, I have always believed, and you have heard me say it, that God is watching over us and that we would all do well to worry less. After all, God feeds the tiniest sparrow, so of course God will give us what we need. And yet, as we look around at our world and see the horrible impact of the Coronavirus, and people killing one another in acts of racism, at a certain point you almost can't help but to ask: "God, are you still out there? You are telling us not to worry and be fearful, but REALLY?"
It is just when we are at that point that I feel that it is most important to be taking the time to recognize God, truly present in our lives, even in all these troubles. And when we do this, the troubles become invitations to a closer relationship with Christ. So, how do we do that? I find that when I am preparing comments on the scripture passages for the weekend (the ones you read here or listen to me say at Mass), it helps to pray a prayer written each week by Anne Osdieck. Anne is an Ignatian Volunteer Corp member and retired high school art teacher. The prayers she writes really help me to center on the readings. That was particularly true this week. (You can find Anne's prayers here each week: https://liturgy.slu.edu/ Select the week and then click on "Praying Towards Sunday") Below is her prayer for this weekend's readings. Please read it and let me know if it helps you better understand where God is in all of this. Let me know if it allows you to better understand God and become closer to God. It addresses the line in this weekend's Gospel from Matthew, "Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid."
"God knows us better than we know ourselves;
loves every freckle and fiber of us.
God counts us worthy to spread the Word (the teachings of Jesus).
we can't breathe, Jesus.
We have no control of
virus or climate,
and there is a
knee on our neck.
you tell us!
Breathe in us again and be our nerve and our backbone.
We will stand up straight and proclaim your Word
in a loud voice to all the people,
in all the places, times
and events of
So, yes, God is present! But God is calling us to ask to be filled with what it takes to bring about positive change. Do you see that just as the prayer shows frustration, "No fear," you tell us!" it goes on to instruct us to allow God to "breath in us again." That we are to inhale God's breath and allow it to empower our actions to be the ones that instruct people in how to live as Jesus taught. Yes, God is present, but you and I are to be God's presence through our actions. We are called to work towards bringing justice through our understanding and accepting of others. Through our example, God's presence will become known, not only to us, but to those around us.
The person who wrote this prayer, Anne Osdieck writes her prayers from experience working and praying among those whom society has forgotten: the homeless, the prisoner, the discouraged. May our prayers be joined with hers as we come closer to God through our own assistance to those in need. Amen.
Just a note:
Our Drive-thru Food Drive for our Sloan Little Free Food Pantry was a huge success! Thanks to all who contributed. And thanks to Nancy Trzepkowski, Jen Maciok, and Jennifer Kregg and all who helped make this happen. Your actions have really helped those in our community come to know God's presence.
Congratulations to the winner of the Lotto theme basket, Gail Fronczak! Thank you Gail for contributing to our food drive!