"Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful."
There were so many wonderful passages in today's readings I could have chosen! Paul to the Colossians: "Put on...heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience..." (Colossians 3:12-17) And today's Gospel is line-for-line, exactly how we are to live: love your enemies, give to others, forgive, stop judging. (Luke 6:27-38) But I thought the way to sum all of these wonderful passages into one is "Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful." If we are merciful, we are all the others--loving, forgiving, nonjudgmental. Being merciful to me means realizing that another person is a child of God too. They may have had a difficult background or horrible things may have happened to them in the past and they are just trying to make their way the best they can. Being merciful means being understanding and compassionate, not a doormat for others, but understanding and forgiving. We can't go through a day without someone getting under our skin, but being merciful means we do not let it ruin our day or make us angry or mean. We can treat each other with the kindness and compassion that St. Paul describes to the Colossians. So, today, let this scripture run through our minds like a little ticker-tape...."Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful." Love, heidi
"And so, this morning we come to bury Myke Judge's body, but not his spirit. We come to bury his voice, but not his message. We come to bury his hands, but not his good works. We come to bury his heart, but not his love. Never his love."
Fr. Michael Duffy, at the funeral of Fr. Mychal Judge
Today, on the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I read a reflection on Fr. Mychal Judge, the Franciscan chaplain who was the first casualty pulled out of the rubble that dreadful morning. There are still lessons to be learned from the attacks of 9/11, and the one for me today is love. Fr. Mychal Judge was not a perfect human being. He struggled with alcohol himself, so he ministered to people in AA. He loved the poor, so he ministered to people on the street. Fr. Mychal was open and honest about his weaknesses, so you know what God did? God used those very weaknesses for good! There is strength in our weaknesses, once we recognize the weaknesses and ask God to help us. Then God can do what God does so well...turn our weakness around into good. So, today, as I think and pray about 9/11, I'm going to dwell on the love. The love that Fr. Myke showed everyone he came into contact with in his beautiful ministry. The love that propelled that good priest to run into the building with the firefighters, that day, to see who he could help. The love with which his own firemen carried Fr. Myke's body out of the rubble and placed it in a church. It's only about the love today, Friends. Love, heidi
If you want to see a good documentary about Fr. Mychal, see "The Saint of 9/11." If you want to read more from the homily and more about Fr. Mychal, here is a good link:
I had several thoughts after our day of prayer and fasting, last Saturday, I wanted to share. First of all, I noticed how really lousy I felt all day and it struck me that people who are always hungry must feel lousy all the time. They probably don't even know what it feels like to actually feel good and nourished. I felt guilty diving into a yummy breakfast Sunday morning, knowing that for so many people, that empty-ache doesn't just last for one day...it continues and gets even worse. Also, as the day went on, I noticed that I had a hard time concentrating and thinking straight. I am grateful for school breakfasts and lunches to help kids get the nourishment they need to learn! And finally, I felt that I grew closer to the global community who also fasted and prayed for Syria last Saturday, and that felt very good. We are a global family...spread out far and wide, east to west, but we are all related as human beings. We, as compassionate, loving, Jesus-people need to walk in each others' shoes and experience the pain our brothers and sisters feel--even if just a day--we need to feel that empty ache. Our prayers and solidarity must continue for Syria and other places of suffering in our world. Let us commit to prayer and anything else we can do to ease the suffering of our brothers and sisters! Love, heidi
During the last years of his life, painter Renoir was in tremendous pain as a result of arthritis. It was terribly painful for him to paint with his arthritic hands, and a friend asked him why he continued to paint through such pain. He answered with, "The beauty remains, the pain passes." We learned this during our homily Saturday night, as it was applied to being a follower of Jesus. Truly following Jesus can be difficult, painful, and surely have life-altering consequences. In yesterday's Gospel (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus tells us to pick up our crosses and follow him, turning our backs to worldly trappings and possessions. He even tells us not to allow family or friends to come between us and a life lived for God. All that can be so difficult, as we are spinning around on this planet! But we are assured, in the end, the beauty of our life with Jesus will outshine anything the world has to offer. The awesomeness will remain, the pain/stress/inconvenience/isolation/whatever-it-is-that-is-undesirable will pass. I thought it was such a beautiful lesson, I wanted to share it today. Blessings on your Monday! Love, heidi