“She was such a light!” Sr. Michelle’s bright blue eyes always twinkle but they became even more animated as she spoke about her second-grade student, Veronica. After forty-plus years of teaching thousands of students, Veronica stood out. “There was just something about her. Yes, she was cute, just like any other little eight-year-old girl, but there was something more—there was a radiance about her. She shined as she treated each classmate with kindness.” Sr. Michelle continued, “Then one day, as Veronica’s mother was picking her up from school, I asked, ‘What have you done to make Veronica so kind, so caring—such a light?’ Her mother quietly responded, ‘Really, the only thing I can think of is that every morning I say, Veronica, you are such a gift from God.’” Sr. Michelle’s dimples deepened, as her Irish smile grew wider, “That was it!" Even at her tender age, Veronica’s light radiated Christ’s presence; she understood herself as a gift and lived as an imitator of Christ, fully awake to the needs of those around her.
The First Sunday of Lent drives us into the desert to face stark questions: Who will you worship? Who will you serve? Will you bow to God or to idols? Elizabeth Scalia writes in StrangeGods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life: “… how convenient it is that the word idol begins with ‘i’.” She reflects on the Israelites’ worship of the golden calf: “The reflective gold gave them admiration of their strength and greatness, which they could confirm with their own eyes, mirrored back at them.” By peering into the looking glass, we can worship self. Since Adam and Eve, we have chosen self over the God who created, freed, and saved us.
My mother always said, “As you age, you become more of who you are. If you’re a complaining young woman, you’ll probably become a crabby old lady. If you’re a young girl who tattletales, you’ll become an old gossip. Or, if you’re a kind young woman, you’ll probably be a sweet old lady.” As the Psalmist wrote, “They shall bear fruit even in old age.”
Nearly twenty years ago, Dr. Mary Pipher, author of The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families, wrote prophetically of society’s dangerous influences on the family. She could easily have been meditating on this week’s Scriptures. She begins by referencing to prairie days when families crafted homes to protect beloved members from vicious animals, destructive storms, and the occasional robber. Pipher then makes the point that today’s world is more treacherous because the enemy is stealthily breaking and entering into our homes. Suddenly, the world of rattlesnakes, tornadoes, and Jesse James sound like the good old days.
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.