From the Deacon’s Desk: Prayer and Inspirational Thoughts
September 27 – Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 27 – St. Vincent de Paul Feast Day
“Your ways are unfair!” We hear this complaint in our first reading from the exiles in Babylon who thought they were being punished for the sins of their fathers; but in reality they were using this ‘complaint’ as an excuse to continue to sin themselves. How often has each of us voiced this same complaint? We see so often in society today people choosing to shift blame rather than be accountable for their own sinfulness. Our pride and focus on self, causes us to buy into sinfulness like the first son in our gospel. St. Paul reminds us that we should unite ourselves in humility to the author of humility – God himself. We need to lessen ourselves that others might increase. When we do, it is God himself who becomes more visible. God rejoices in those who recognize their sinfulness and strive to transform their hearts wrapped in God’s mercy and the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus.
As Vincentians, we come face to face with circumstances of injustice and unfairness. Many times people struggle due to circumstances beyond their control. Sometimes we meet people who struggle with accountability. But we also see time and again people who embrace their crosses, count their blessings, and thank God for what they do have. We are reminded that God didn’t promise us fairness – he promised us freedom – freedom to choose love – freedom to choose not to sin – freedom to choose to pursue hope! Through our encounters helping the poor we can learn how to accept our crosses, trust in God’s will and grow in humility. For as St. Vincent tells us ‘in the poor, in their struggles, we see God himself!’ They teach us humility by their living examples. They are not perfect – they make mistakes. Neither am I perfect. What those who are suffering have learned though is humility and gentleness in ways I can only aspire too. Watch those who are suffering and a common trait is care for others. Do I pay attention? Do I accept the gift they give me with gratitude? Do I set my pride and self-importance to the side that I might see the presence of Christ in all situations?
Father, I am a sinner who has offended you. Grant that my heart might be touched by your presence in the poor and the suffering. Help me to see the gift they offer me. Help me to let go of my pride, my self-importance, my lack of patience, my deceit of even myself that I might recognize you waiting in the distance for me to journey toward you. Allow me to embrace those in need that I might feel your loving embrace of me. I pray all of this in your Son’s name. Amen