Israel, expecting its return to Jerusalem, perches on the edge of glory. Mary, awaiting the birth of her baby, labors on the cusp of glory. John the Baptist, proclaiming repentance, preaches on the verge of glory. The Church, anticipating the Second Coming of Jesus, worships at the altar of glory. Israel, Mary, John the Baptist, and the Church were created for God’s glory. Each person’s call to the edge of glory is to know, and make known, God’s glorious presence in the world.
“End stage,” he said. My heart sank; “Really? So, this is the beginning of the end.” The end of being greeted by his bright smile, the end of hearing his voice, the end of kissing him on the forehead. “We’re moving,” she said. My gut ached; “What? So, this is the beginning of the end.” The end of her saintly presence at morning Mass, the end of “surprise” St. Nicholas Day packages, the end of quiet words of wisdom. “End times,” they say. My head shakes: “So, this is the beginning of the end.” The end of the world, the end of this good earth, the end of life as we know it.
During the last month of my sixth pregnancy, I trudged up our stairs for bed—one slow step at a time—thinking, “I don’t know how I’ll be able to get up and going in the morning.” At the landing, I spoke a little prayer for strength and offered the day to God. Sure enough, after a night’s rest, I arose with enough energy to face another day. But this offering wasn’t the sacrificial offering of the great prophets or martyrs, rather my offering was the culmination of dozens of small sacrificial acts: changing a toddler’s diaper, cooking breakfast, packing lunches, serving dinner, helping with homework, reading stories, saying prayers—a handful of flour to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a little oil for a cake to deliver to a sick neighbor.
As we rounded the corner, I tried shielding two-year-old Johnny from all the “scary” Halloween decorations. Twisting in the cart, Johnny spotted a skull; Johnny’s blue eyes lit up, a huge smile broke out, and he shouted with delight, “Coco!” My daughter laughed, “Johnny thinks all skulls and skeletons are from the movie, Coco.” My son, who lived in Mexico last year, chimed in, “Yep! The movie depicts la Día de los Muertos, the Mexican celebration known as the Day of the Dead.” Though not a Christian tradition, this popular, and most colorful festival sports altars, candles, flowers, foods, and costumes. Unlike the macabre of Halloween, la Día de los Muertos affirms life, family, and the importance of remembering those who have gone before us.
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.