A true story! A young teacher died. At his wake, his students were telling the young widow how her husband had transformed their lives. In frustration she cried out, “Why didn’t you tell him this while he was still living? He was always downhearted and despairing about his work as a teacher.” Yes, give flowers to the living – not at their funerals!
The Lord, after his Rising from the dead, went about lifting up the spirits of His disciples and friends. He showed Himself an encourager without equal. To encourage means to pour new life into the hearts of others. The Loving Christ did not point fingers of blame, especially to His disciples, and ask troublesome questions . . . why did you desert Me when I needed you?
Instead, He wished them peace, with His Love for them showing in all His actions . . . eating with them . . . helping them to bring in a record number of fish . . . by making a second visit to the Upper Room for the sake of the doubting Thomas. At this Easter time, Our Rabboni wishes us to follow His example and go about encouraging others to live the full life.
In pursuit of this ideal, we need not do grand and glorious things. Simply be gracious, kind, pleasant to all whom we meet each day, no matter what their appearance or social standing might be. Every person crossing our path has a cross to carry. Our treatment of them might be just what they need that day to continue to carry that cross courageously. All are precious to Christ.
Smiles can work wonders. In my days the smile of a waitress or a flight attendant or sales clerk has lifted be out of the doldrums. I said to myself, “Cheer up George, life is worth living.” We can be so miserly with compliments. Human beings need them desperately. Mark Twain said, “I could live for two months on one compliment.”
Maybe write a letter to a friend struggling with the trials of life. A good practice, have a stack of “get well” messages and envelopes on hand. When was the last time we wrote a few lines of good will to our local priests? They can use them these days. One letter can do wonders for their spirits.
Hug our family members! Tell them often, “I think you’re great!” One Valentine’s Day, in 1933, while in 8th grade, another student put a little candy heart on my desk, with the inscription, “I love you”. This memory still lifts my spirits 81 years later.
Happy Easter To All!! Alleluia! Jesus Christ is Risen Today! Fr. George Mc Kenna
One rainy, bone-chilling morning many years ago in January, I boarded a bus in Jerusalem for Bethlehem, some five miles away. Besides my wish to offer Mass at the Grotto of the Nativity, I wanted to view a movie, “This Life of Christ”, in the Bethlehem Theater.
As the movie began, only two of us were in attendance. The other person sat in the front row with his back-pack at his side. One with a back-pack doesn’t frequent a Hilton four star hotel. He sleeps often under the stars or wherever he can lay his head. This sounds like the life Christ led. Maybe he was Christ, there to teach me a lesson.
At the intermission, the theater people served us hot tea. To my surprise, the young man came from the front and shared his little box of treasured cookies, bought with his meager funds. I will never forget this gracious act of sharing.
The whole point of the movie we were viewing highlighted the sharing spirit of Christ. This wish to share in our human life began right here in this little town of Bethlehem with his birth as a child of Mary. He desperately wanted to be like us in every way, with all our human limitations, hunger, thirst and a desire to be loved.
In His Baptism by John the Baptist, Jesus further humbled Himself since baptism was reserved for sinners. In view of a great crowd of people, Christ received John’s pouring of water. In our daily life, we can imitate Our Humble Christ by being blessed with a desire to share with others our little treasures of food, money, ideas, encouragement and good will.
When I had returned from the Holy Land, I was waiting in line at the Food Court in Midway Airport to order gyros and fries. The woman in front of me had a bill for $5.17 with only $5.00 in her hand. With all her baggage, she looked dismayed about finding the extra change. “Big generous” me then handed her a quarter to cover the 17 cents for her. Her eyes spoke volumes of gratitude, almost as if I had given her $170.00. “It’s is only 17 cents”, I said to her. She replied, “Yes, but it meant very much to me.” She won’t forget me or this small act of kindness.
Be a sharer each day! Fr. George Mc Kenna