Commentary on the Gospel of
“Always hold firmly to the thought that each one of us
The dog days of summer were especially tough for many of my friends and me. Almost everyone I spoke with during those terrible weeks felt so overwhelmed. The news recounted one ‘fresh hell’ after another. One friend lamented: “It’s too much and I am not even near Kabul or Haiti or Louisiana or a hospital.”
What, we wondered, could we do to keep ourselves from getting swamped by this steady stream of catastrophes? How could we keep hoping in the midst of so much devastation? We ended up making a pact to ‘phone a friend’ when things got too much and to try to do one thing each day that addressed this mess we are all in.
A short time later I read this sentence in today’s scriptures and my first thought was, “Thank you Jesus.”
“Thus says the LORD of hosts:
And that’s it, isn’t it? People have repeatedly faced horrific situations… Cambodia’s Pol Pot’s regime, Serbia, slavery… awful, impossible situations. No one person alone solved any of those impossible situations, but many individuals stepped up during those horrific times and did something to ease another’s suffering.
As my friends and I pondered what we could do each day to show God’s love and perhaps give someone hope to carry on, our friend Nancy decided the one thing she could do was to help with the newly arrived refugees from Afghanistan.
Dana took one look at the subdued children, picked up the bag of ‘distractors’ and went over to them. It quickly got noisy, but no one seemed to mind as it made all but the mother smile. The mother seemed so exhausted, so overwhelmed just blankly staring at Nancy. Not knowing how to help this woman, Nancy simply got up and sat closer to her. The mother started silently weeping. My friend just sat with her and handed her tissues.
After a while, Nancy said she felt a bit of hope seeping back into that mother as she began to hear her children laughing and playing with Dana. The first reading encourages, “The city (Jerusalem) shall be filled with girls and boys playing in the streets.” Nancy told me that hearing the laughter get louder and louder was the best medicine for that despairing mother. She knows it is a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start. Sometimes just sitting with people in their pain is all we can do, but it helps not to be alone.
So, we do what we can where we are and trust in our God to see us through these ‘impossible days’.