Looking for Jesus

An Everyday Stewardship Reflection for the 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2016

homeless-girl

I would like to think that most people in the world would help someone who was suffering if they had the chance. I guess my optimism starts to take a hit when I consider that in some cases the cost will be higher for that help than in others. To help someone with a meal or transport someone to a doctor is one thing. To offer oneself completely, all of one’s money or time, is quite another.

Of course, there have been famous examples of this type of giving. The recently canonized St. Teresa of Calcutta comes to mind. But I personally know of others who have given everything for another. Friends who have adopted an older child, gone to live as missionaries in a far off land, or added on to their house in order to care for an aging parent, are all examples to me of those who answer the call without counting the cost.

I am not concerned with not being able to follow the examples of these stewardship heroes. What concerns me is becoming too comfortable and not noticing the Lazarus that may be in my midst. Living a life of Everyday Stewardship means not only answering the call when it is obvious and when we have the chance to truly do something amazing, but also when it is less obvious and the need not as easily noticeable. Who doesn’t want to help the starving child they see on a late night infomercial? But the sad reality is that sometimes there are children lying at our proverbial door that fail to gain our attention.

So, I pray to see with the eyes of Jesus. I ask that I may be ever more mindful of those in need who cross my path. I pray to see Jesus in them. I pray to be Jesus to them. I pray that I may answer the call.

Door of Mercy

“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved” – John 10.9

While sitting on my deck, my cat will sometimes put her nose on the glass door asking to come out with me.  I’m hesitant to get up and open the door since I know the drill:  I walk to the door, open it, and she backs away apparently frightened by the possibility, sometimes darting away. I go sit back down and she returns with a meow.  I get back up, open the door again, she backs away, I give up.

This kind of inertia affects us all at different points in our life.  A door will open and we are too afraid to walk through it.  It’s something we think we want, but when the door swings wide, we retract.  It could be fear of failure, the unknown, or change.  And sometimes we don’t realize the door is open until we look back and recognize it.

When we fail to walk through a door that could have been a great opportunity for us, it’s tempting to look back with regret, but that isn’t helpful either.  It can create even more inertia because we focus on ‘what if?’ rather than trying to identify new doors to step through.

doorDiscerning doors is one of life’s biggest challenges.  Some doors may be wide open, but may not be the Narnia we are looking for.  Others may be closed but we try to pry them open and miss the ones that God is nudging us toward.

One that is always open for us is the door of mercy.  God grants us a sanctifying grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but often we are like my cat dancing around the door trying to gather the courage to walk through yet never taking that step of faith.

As we draw closer to the end of this great Jubilee Year, may we all run to the door of mercy and allow God to bind up the wounds that keep us walking in fear rather than faith.