Yesterdays, Today, and the Hope for Tomorrows
It’s been a month since the start of 2019. It seems like a lifetime, to me. If you made any resolutions, how are you doing with them? Most of the new people I saw walking or running by the house on January 1st have long since stopped. It’s hard trying to be better than we’ve become – to make positive changes and make them stick.
It was my birthday a few days ago. It’s interesting having a birthday less than a month from the start of the New Year because, for me, I become very introspective at both times. Getting close to January 1st, I tend to look back at the past 365 and examine who I’ve become and the ways I’ve failed being the good man I want to be. But then around my birthday I look at the short stretch of the last 28 days, and how I want to look at the next year of my life, should I be blessed to live that long (I sure hope so… I want to see my little girl grow, and I also need to mow that lawn).
There’s a lot in our scripture today that I’d like to write on, but I think there’s one underlying message and likely something we’ve all heard many times. These three passages, I think, sum it up:
Psalm 24:1-2,3-4ab, 5-6 ”Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.”
Hebrews 10:19-25 ”We must consider how to rouse one another to love.”
Mark 4:21-25 “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket?”
Yes, I know they’re out of Liturgical Order, but bear with me.
The Psalm: Our world needs to see God’s face. The polarization of our country and society, our world, is so apparent and acute. There are so many good people, and yet every night we see such visions of horror on the nightly news . Take a moment to look past our current political climate and you’ll see a three-year-old boy sitting stunned and bloodied in an ambulance. The body of an innocent child washed up on the shore. Young girls kidnapped en masse and forced to be “wives” to their captors. We see the funerals of children killed in urban gang wars. We see the anguish of their mothers who could not keep them safe.
And we run out of tears.
The author of the Letter to the Hebrews writes “We must consider how to rouse one another to love. We should not stay away from our assembly.” (Hebrews 10:24a, 25a)
The horror that’s happening in our world today is frightening. Looking at this every day makes it extremely difficult to not feel as though what little good you or I can do would make much difference. As one family under God, I just can’t believe the things we do to each other.
And in our homes…
The way we treat those we love most is, perhaps, the most frightening to me of all.
Mark quotes Jesus for us today, who implores us to place our light not under a basket to be hidden, but on a stand to shine before all.
You might say, “But I’m just one person and a world of billions!” I agree. You are one person in a world of billions. And most won’t see you. But “you know who” does. And so do the people you interact with every day!
WE can change the world! It can start in our own families and with our friends… something as simple as a smile can change the course of someone’s day. And maybe that person will change the way they treat someone else… and so on. And all because of you. The light of your one candle and fire the light of one more, and from the sharing of the light with each other, billions can be lit.
As community in this way, we must be willing to accompany each other on the road. We can’t hate and scorn, hurt and murder, turn a blind eye to all we abhor in the world. We simply have to carry God’s love and compassion to others through our service to them. We must be the change we want to see in the world. We live and proclaim Christ, crucified and risen, by the way we live our lives.
Friends, now is the time. Now is the time to make good on that resolution. We can do it if we do it together. Let’s infect each person we see with our love and our faith, our care and our hope.
Let’s be the best bible anyone has ever read.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of eternal life with you.
Please grant us the grace to carry your mercy, compassion, and love to all.
To all. Amen.
Paul Puccinelli is Director of Liturgy & Music at St. Rita Parish in Sierra Madre, CA, and a member of the Retreat-Team at Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center.