This week’s letter is to Sinead and to Mark.
Dear Sinead and Mark,
Did you ever feel ‘faint-hearted’, like when your courage and confidence were at a low ebb? I know I feel that way, at times, maybe facing into a new year (like now) or facing a challenging task and wondering if I’m up to it. Maybe for some of your friends, it’s facing into the Leaving Cert year, or beginning College or the second year of college when you know what it’s going to be like. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. Well, I was delighted to find the very first words of the readings for the Lord’s Day on this Sunday is ‘Say to all faint hearts, do not be afraid. Look, your God is coming!’ (Isaiah 35:4) Good to know we are never really on our own, not matter what the challenge. I needed to hear those words, now.
I have friends called Chris and Catherine. Knew them both from their late teens, and was at their wedding about four years back. A wonderful wedding, with everything kept simple, and lots of joy and music and craic to beat the band. We all knew at their wedding that they planned to travel to Zimbabwe after their honeymoon, to work there for two years. And they did. And life was not easy for them. They worked with young Africans, teaching them skills and how to set up little businesses to make a few bob to feed themselves. I have a product from one of those businesses, in the boot of my car, – a pair of sandals made from car tyres and elephant manure! They’re the business. Well, Chris and Catherine took to their young hearts what St. James talks about today in the second reading,- don’t make distinctions between rich and poor. Treat the poor as you would the richest person, -because the poor are also VIP’s,- Very Important Persons. And what you do to them you do to Jesus. As they might say in Belfast ‘See them? See Him! – or – See Him? See them!’
How did Chris and Catherine get to this understanding? Well, their eyes were opened in their late teens and they came to know how Jesus treated and loved the poor. Their ears were opened to hear his words of wisdom, his teaching about each and every human being, as being Very Important Persons before their Heavenly Father.
So, Sinead, Mark, here’s wishing you both great hearing and clear vision,- the kind that only the Son of God can really give you, when you ask him. And maybe your tongue also will be loosed to give great praise to the God who loves us beyond our wildest dreams,- the One who’s crazy with love for each person,- including you and me.
God bliss you and bless you!