Remember… Respond…

“Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you.
And know that I am with you always…”

Matthew 28:20

While searching an infrequently visited drawer, I found a tiny plate which can’t be more than 5 inches in diameter. This antiquated memento features a sketch of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Though this chipped bit of porcelain isn’t fine artwork, it elicited a smile. I quickly recalled the enthusiasm of Catholics who marveled at the possibility of a Catholic president. Though I didn’t know much else about him, I cheered when he was elected. When Mr. Kennedy offered his inaugural speech, I learned something about this man and his hope for the future. Our new president told us, “…ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country.” At the time, I wondered what I could do.

Though I was only in elementary school during this presidency, I recall Khrushchev’s rants and our fear of communism. I recall the worry surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis and the relief over its resolution. Though we fretted and prayed about such things, I felt safe. Then, On November 22, 1963, everything changed. 1036 days into his term, President Kennedy was killed by an assassin.

On this ominous anniversary, regardless of our religious and political affiliations, I think we all have good reason to respond to Mr. Kennedy’s request. Today, I’m going to stop wondering what I can do and I’m going to do something.

Patient and merciful God, you know our imperfections better than we know them ourselves. Still, you place your trust in us to care for this world and for one another. Today, inspire us all to do something to ensure that your trust is well-placed.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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