March 6, 2016 – Wednesday in the 2nd Week of Easter
Saint for the day: Crescentia Hoess (1682 – 1744)
Scripture Readings for today’s Liturgy:
Acts 5:17-26 – Psalm 34 – John 3:16-21
“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might have eternal life. (John 3:16)
I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this scripture verse. It’s been popping up in our recent Easter scriptures and, as I’ve said before: it is the most well-known scripture verses in all time. This awareness has come about through the dedication of committed Christians who make sure that a banner with the simple line, “John 3:16” is displayed, from the stands, at almost every televised athletic event in the US. We hope and pray that the deeper reality of this scripture verse will make some impact on our world which is in such need of deep, religious faith and conversion. I just hope that the people who organize and carry out this somewhat subtle “ministry,” themselves are being converted. They’re on the right track if they continue to take this silent approach and let these words of the Holy Scriptures speak for themselves and draw people into the reality of God’s Love for all His creation. There’s another short verse that I’ve quoted before, which has some value pertaining to the way we make people aware of God’s infinite love. It is based on the way God created all of us: we have two eyes, two ears but only one mouth. That means we should see and hear four times more than we speak! Think about that for a moment: we need to see people around us in the way God see all of us. That means we need to draw people into the love that God has shown us before we start telling them what they’re doing wrong. We need to hear their story – whatever that might be – and simply take them where they’re at. There was a popular 1960’s poster showing a young, pretty dirty, inner-city “street boy” with the caption, “God made me! And God don’t make junk!” “ Made in the image and likeness of God” has more to do with our inner self/soul than it has to do with how we look or act. In this “Jubilee year of Mercy,” proclaimed by our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we are being urged to reach out and beyond our “comfort zones” and help those who don’t have anybody to help them. Most won’t have to search very far from home to find someone who needs some kind of helping hand. Most of the time we’ll have someone in our own family that needs some encouragement or some kind of help to get through the troubles around them. Sometimes, when I’m just walking through the church here at St. Dominic’s, I make sure I smile at the people I meet on the way. Sometimes one of those people will make a point of bumping into me on my way back and ask some simple question about faith or struggles. Sometimes they have a hard time getting their words together but I just give them all the time they need. I take the stance, “I don’t know where they’re coming from. I don’t know what kinds of things weigh heavy on them.” The most important thing I can give them is a little of my time and energy. Maybe a short prayer and a cross traced on their forehead can give them just that added nudge to not give up on God. When I have to wake up some of the street people who are stretched out and sleeping on the pews I tell them, “You have to sit up but you can lean your head on the back of the pew in front of you and pretend like you’re praying. It might do you some good.” Most of all I try to have an image of God lifting them out of their misery rather than giving them the notion that I’m like a liturgical policeman. Being nice to people doesn’t cost us anything and the rewards are usually in the hundred-fold area. Some of the regulars even know my name and greet me when I wake them up. I’m not very good at remembering names but I know that it can mean a lot to people who are usually treated like trash most of the time. Remember: being nice to people doesn’t cost you almost anything! Amen, Alleluia!