Thursday, February 7, 2013

Longing and belonging

Random thoughts that somehow connect in my brain:

Nature and the Eucharist by Farid De La Ossa
as posted here

#1, At daily Mass today our visiting priest reminded us how privileged we are – and not merely because of economic or cultural reasons. Each one of us is privileged, he emphasized, because we are invited to the Eucharist every day, to become one with Jesus, one in Jesus. 

#2, I’ve always had this thing for doctor shows. At the risk of showing how o-l-d I really am, I can claim being a fan of medical shows as far back as Ben Casey, Medical Center, and Marcus Welby! As a college freshman, I even claimed to be pre-med, until those pesky Science courses reminded me that’s not where my gifts lay.

Today, as I read my friend Susan’s perceptive post “Longing for Community” in her blog Creo en Dios! I gained a beautiful insight into one of the reasons that these shows have always appealed to me. Susan quotes from one of her readers as she observes:
“Perhaps my devotion to that show, and, indeed the almost universal popularity of shows with “teams,” says something about a certain longing common to many people these days–the longing to be part of a community where you are loved, cherished, and appreciated for the unique qualities that make you you. A place of joy, fun, laughter, goodness.”

I think Colleen is right… we all have a longing to be part of a “team”, a “longing to be part of a community where [we] are loved, cherished, and appreciated for the unique qualities that make us [who we] are.” For me, part of the value of her comment is helping us to explicitly acknowledge that longing, recognizing it for what it is.

#3, I may not understand the English expression, but I do know that I was in “seventh heaven” on Sunday as our family filled the pew for 10:15 Mass. In addition to having all four of our “kids” and our oldest grandchild with us, we also had present two of their spouses as well as my parents. Nothing makes me “higher” than our family celebrating Mass together… I am richly blessed.

#4, Our gifted pastor proclaimed, once again, a powerful homily, one that I’m still pondering in my heart. Here’s a part of it:

There is not one of us in this church who has not felt the cruelty of being rejected by people who have praised us, loved us, or used us in some way only to reject us when we are no longer needed for their pleasure, their ambition, their greed, or their need to look good and enjoy the approval of others. Our young people are especially vulnerable to this experience, and they are too often manipulated and controlled, confused and frightened by a fear of rejection. The need to belong, to be accepted, approved, and admired is so strong in us! To this need, this fear, this power, Jesus stands before the fury of this crowd who have just, seconds before, been so bold as to claim him as their own and puff up their own esteem by recognizing his origins among them. Suddenly their fury turns on him, and we know how it will go from here till the end. 
If ever the first spoken words of Luke’s Gospel need to be heard and internalized, it is in the face of rejection. “Do Not Be Afraid!” is said over and over again in Luke’s first chapter. It is the message from an angel. It is the message of courage and hope. It is the message which the Word made flesh now puts into action. Remember it yourself when the values of your faith and the teaching of your church leads you to experience rejection. Fear Not.

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