Do What Only You Can Do

Should someone press you into service for one mile, go along for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you and do not turn your back…

From Matthew 5:41-42

Sometimes, the people or circumstances around us seem determined to push us to the nth degree. Though we feel compassion for those in need, we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands on our time and resources. Though we support a cause passionately, we sometimes don’t know where to begin to help. It’s when I’m overwhelmed in this way that someone always manages to come along to minister to me. This was the case the other day. Though we couldn’t see one another face-to-face, two quite generous “someones” reached out to me via the U.S. Mail.

A note and card came from a parishioner who doesn’t access the internet. Her only source of information regarding our church is our Sunday bulletin. When she told me this, I offered to mail her a copy each week until she feels safe enough to return to Mass. Her note offered a sweet “thank you” for my efforts. The second letter was from a nun in Ohio. Every week, I mailed a copy of my Sunday reflection to a fellow nun whom I’ve know for many years. Sadly, my nun-friend passed away. Her friend wrote to tell me how much my friend had enjoyed receiving my notes each week.

I have to tell you that these messages made all of the difference in the world to me. I think I’ve managed my weariness over COVID-19 and my heartbreak over injustice in this country fairly well. Still, when I retrieved the mail that day, I had a headache and a heartache over all of this. Those letters reminded me that the little I can do to improve the human condition these days actually is important to someone.

Loving God, help us all to continue doing what we can.

©2020 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Do Something!

Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on the one in need.

Matthew 5:41-42

I know I’ve shared this before. I’ve been having difficulty picking up the newspaper and listening to the news. Though our ability to receive information from all over the world in a nanosecond is remarkable, it’s also overwhelming. I’ve been aware of this world’s suffering since childhood. Still, today’s readily available images of all of this is almost too much to bear. How must those who endure this suffering feel? When I consider that human beings in power see these terrible circumstances firsthand, I’m even more hard-pressed to understand why nothing is done to help. Though our compassion for the suffering inspires much prayer, effort and sharing of resources on many of our parts, the suffering which persists continues to overwhelm all concerned.

Today is different. I turned to the television news and newspaper as soon as I awoke. I searched for any information regarding the coach and young hikers in Thailand who’ve been trapped in a deep mountainside cave. Locating them alive was the first of a list of seemingly impossible hurdles which has driven a worldwide effort to get them to safety. The key here is “worldwide”. Capable people from this country and six other nations have joined Thailand in this effort. At this writing, they continue to work together to save these boys and their coach. Their single concern is to bring each one to safety as quickly as possible.

Today, my hope in our ability to respond to this world’s suffering is renewed. While you and I do what we can individually in this regard, our nations are working together to do the same. Though this effort may seem small in the grand scheme of things, it means everything to those boys and their coach!

Loving God, thank you for caring for us and for sharing this skill with us.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Love and Be Loved

Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Matthew 5:41-42

Sometimes, those around us seem determined to push us to the nth degree to fulfill Jesus’ words from Matthew’s gospel. Though we feel compassion for those in need, we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by the numerous demands on our time and our resources.

It is when I’m overwhelmed in this way that someone always manages to come along to minister to me. Though my busyness and expended resources are the result of my own choices, this makes no difference to the kind soul who comes to my aid. He or she simply says just the right thing or spends just enough time listening to ease me through my current rough spot. I always walk away from these encounters feeling replenished and revived, fully capable of responding to the next person who needs me. I can only hope that my benefactor is repaid in kind down the road.

Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind all along. Perhaps we’re meant to care for one another and to be cared for by one another until we make it home to heaven. There, God will take over the loving and the caring for each one of us.

Loving God, thank you for caring for us and for sharing this skill with us.

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Care and Be Cared For

Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go with him for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Matthew 5:41-42

Sometimes, those around us seem determined to push us to the nth degree to fulfill Jesus’ words from Matthew’s gospel. Though we feel compassion for those in need, we sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by numerous demands on our time and our resources.

It is when I’m overwhelmed in this way that someone always manages to come along to minister to me. Though my busyness and expended resources are the result of my own choices, this makes no difference to the kind soul who comes to my aid. He or she simply says just the right thing or spends just enough time listening to ease me through my current rough spot. I always walk away from these encounters feeling replenished and revived, fully capable of responding to the next person who needs me. I can only hope that my benefactor is repaid in kind down the road.

Perhaps this is what Jesus had in mind all along. Perhaps we are meant to care for one another and to be cared for by one another until we make it home to heaven. There, God will take over the loving and the caring for each one of us.

Loving God, thank you for caring for us and for sharing this skill with us.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Keepers of The Keys

I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven.
From Matthew 16:19

I find it consoling that Peter was the one chosen to lead the first Christian community. Though Peter had no idea of what being given the keys to the Kingdom entailed, Jesus entrusted him with this responsibility just the same. Though Peter’s thick-headedness and cowardice brought a good deal of trouble his way, Peter allowed his heart to direct him when the chips were down. He is the one who first said aloud what the other disciples feared to whisper even to themselves. In the end, after Jesus was crucified and risen, it is Peter who led the disciples to share all that they had learned with the world.

As a child, I told myself often that I would have been much different from the disciples if I had walked with Jesus. I could not understand how anyone would have questioned a thing Jesus said or did. Today, I know better. In spite of the numerous and generous ways in which God has been revealed to me day in and day out, I question and worry and despair with the best of them. For us humans, I guess seeing is believing. The problem is that we fail to see the treasure lying before our eyes. Still, God entrusts us with the keys of the Kingdom of heaven just the same. It is up to us to be like Peter and to follow our hearts in revealing just what this means to us in all that we say and do.

Trusting God, you have made us the caretakers of your word and works. Give us the courage, wisdom and love to share these gifts honestly and generously.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved