We brought our fifth child home from the hospital to our smaller house. There wasn’t an extra room for another child, so he slept next to us in a bassinet. My mom, bless her heart, encouraged me, “It’s much better to be close together. Everyone gets lost in a house too big.” Eventually, we moved into a larger house, but it was only much later that our fifth and sixth children had their own bedrooms. In this age of social distancing, though some kids (moms and dads) want to escape to their own rooms, most of us long to be together, interacting, sharing meals. So, what of today’s Gospel, with Jesus speaking to the disciples before His crucifixion and departure: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” So, is Heaven a big house? Do we each get our own room?
For just a few days in April, the bluebells open in full bloom, transforming the forest ground into a sea of blue. For the past ten years, several of our grandchildren have joined us to walk, run, and skip through this living masterpiece. For a few hours, we’d explore the woods, pick delicate bouquets, and praise God for such glorious beauty! But not this year. Not even one grandchild joined us and though it’s a minor disappointment, it hurt our hearts.
“What’s wrong, Mare?” She knew immediately I was down. Though she couldn’t see my face because of the protective mask, she noticed the pace of my steps, my posture, and the slight slant of my head. “Well, I just can’t shake my disappointment with the postponement of our important family event, and tomorrow is the twins’ birthday and we can’t celebrate with them. I know it’s all minor compared to what others are experiencing, but I had hoped.” As we walked, she listened intently and then spoke quietly, “I’m sorry.”
When engaging our parish grade-school children in a conversation about the resurrection, I solicited a volunteer. Eight-year-old Francis excitedly raised his hand and quickly climbed the steps to the altar area. “So, Francis, if Jesus came walking down the street today, how would you recognize Him?” Without skipping a beat Francis remarked, “By the marks on his hands.” I was astonished.
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.