The POD (portable moving container) pulled up, ready to be emptied. We excitedly unlocked chains and swung doors open. It was packed to the gills. Like mining for gold, we dug in deep, dragging out box after box, lugging out bed frames, bolts, dressers, and lawn tools. Once everything was unloaded into the garage, we slumped on piled boxes to recover as we surveyed the work ahead. Just then, eight Xavier High School students arrived, smiles on their faces, ready for the challenge. They, at that moment, were mercy itself—flesh for the life of our family!
At a recent conference, I had the opportunity to participate in “street evangelization.” At a hotel near O’Hare airport, our group boarded a bus and headed to Millennium Park. On the way, we received instructions: “Go out by two, approach an individual, and ask if he or she would like prayer or is in need of a miracle. If opposed, wish the person a good day and move on. If he or she is open, visit and eventually pray with or over the person.” Our final instruction: “Pray the Lord will send you to individuals who could use grace and is in need of prayer.’” Everyone on the bus fell into silent prayer. When we arrived at our designation, we left our belongings on the bus and stepped into the heart of Chicago. And then the bus drove off, leaving us a bit shell shocked.
DESPERATE. In this Sunday’s Gospel, we read of two individuals who are desperate: a father desperate for the life of his twelve-year-old daughter and a woman desperate from suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years. The father was pleading and falling at the feet of Jesus on behalf of his daughter while the woman was grasping in desperation for the relief of her affliction. After reaching the limits of their resources and medical help, both, in faith, seek Jesus, the Divine Healer. Through a touch and a word, Jesus heals each.
Immediately after our daughter gave birth, her husband Zach exclaimed, “We think you’re going to like this little guy!” He stated proudly, “His name is John Francis Leo.” Zach then explained, “It’s after our three favorite Popes: John the XXIII, Francis, Leo the Great.” I smiled and pondered, “With such a noble name, what will this child be?” To what mission will God call our Johnny? Will he serve as a prophetic preacher of repentance, an advocate for reform, a tireless servant of the poor, or a fierce teacher of the truth? Will he be called to the priesthood, religious life, marriage or the single life? Whatever he chooses, I pray the Lord’s hand will be upon Johnny, guiding him to the fullness of discipleship.
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.