For the Whole

Spring is whispering through the unusual February warmth, a temptress bidding New England to deny winter entirely. And half a world away, a seismic catastrophe has cruelly completed thousands of lives leaving shattered humans behind. Far above the earth, spaceship surveillance has become a reality. Everywhere, there is a sense of confusion, near chaos, and an increasing sense of danger and threats to the familiarity cherished everywhere. Blame and anger boil over and manifest in governments and on sidewalks. Still, our planet spins through its cycles, and each human being is only a visitor in time. How to live with all that means?

Perhaps our life stories, built on memories and hopes, are wrapped around the pillars of how we would like things to be. Perhaps the gossamer threads that lace through the decades have the openness and flexibility that allows us to see the context of our being: the history that surrounds us and the overlapping and intersections of our lives with others. Perhaps it is time that we look at the life that we are living and think carefully about the power and the possibilities that wait for us. And perhaps, in the way that God whispers wisdom through us and in us, simplicity and poverty will speak to some. Perhaps creativity and courage are gifted to others, hope and daring and resilience to still more. Perhaps we are simply a mosaic of goodness waiting to be come together to to confront and resolve the chaos around us.

It would mean displacing both doubt and laziness, adhering to a higher good and daring to believe that there is more to this life than we ever suspected. It would mean suspending the crush of judgement about one another and cultivating an abiding trust in others to choose to search for and then do the right thing. It would demand a trust that challenges the complacent and an honesty that hones the self-indulgent. It would mean engaging in a sense of deep respect for others and for self and daring to choose to acknowledge the myriad connections among us that already exist. In an age of self-defense, it would mean standing together because of, not in spite of, our differences. It would mean stepping far from the memes and the sound bytes and pushing deeper into the spaces where it is possible to see and then connect to define the greater good.

There are many reasons not to bother: personal comfort, perceived injustice, the effort to change and the reasonable chance of failure. Maybe there are more reasons to care: you matter, others matter, and history has left us the pain-filled evolution of governments, economics and technology as well as the struggle for power. The incarnation of power in multiple forms has inevitably cursed some and favored others. Within those realms abides the strength of personal character, integrity and presence. The readings for this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time are an invitation to consider the roads we choose and the paths not taken, to contemplate at depth what really matters. Most of all, that wisdom that Paul speaks of acknowledges the endlessness of human shortcomings and flaws as well as the enormity of God’s compassion and love. There is a sense of resolve there, that hint that all is not lost. It is time, perhaps, to believe that, to make choices for the whole good, to practice kindness and compassion towards one another, and to trust in a God who still believes in us.

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