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Mission: Not Impossible

November 30, 2015

At the end of the 19th century, the Rev. John Watson wrote, “Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle.” I looked up the word pitiful, and found: Full of or characterized by pity; compassionate, merciful, tender. Now rare. Now rare, indeed.

I come to you today, struggling.  In fact we have all struggled together.  I have been coming up here for 4 years now, and we have been witness to so much. So much. I want to share the latest struggle. Because it’s important; because we can help one another.

I have a co-worker, who came back to work Monday after 8 weeks of maternity leave.  This young, military person, after a difficult pregnancy brought into the world her second child; this time a boy.  Like me, he started out small [I am certainly not so small anymore!], and ever curious and observant.  The Sergeant and I talked frequently.  She was a fallen away Catholic, divorced, remarried, and yet incredibly conscious of the fact that her children were not baptized.  And also, perhaps by recriminations of others, she felt that it would be impossible.  Ah, I reminded her, nothing is impossible for God, is it?  I was pretty sure she would be able to get back on track somehow.  But on Tuesday, she was rushed home, because the boy had stopped breathing, and indeed had breathed his last. I would wager that at some point, she will turn back to God – in anger.  Every man is fighting a hard battle…

We have all stared down instances like these.  And every time, I try to reassure, saying the usual,  God’s ways are not our ways, we cannot fathom the will of God, etc., etc..  I try to bridge by saying God does not wish for these things to happen, but perhaps he needs us to demonstrate how we handle our tragedies, in order to lend aid to someone, another soul, faced with handling theirs.  I don’t know. As always, it is a great, great mystery.

Perhaps that is why in the Gospel, Jesus is sending out his disciples, unencumbered, unburdened, undistracted.  No money, no food, no spare tire, nothing – not even a walking stick.  Only then they could see, us, struggling, fighting the hard battle.  And then they were to stay with a worthy person the whole time, and let their peace come upon them.  So they could learn, and in turn, help others with their struggles.  So let us remember, also, and lend aid and comfort and God’s love where we can.

On a postscript, my friend is doing well enough.  She is going through the grieving process – one that she will ultimately get through.  Because she is a good and compassionate soul.  And that is what good souls do.


Eternal rest, grant to him, O Lord, and your perpetual light shine upon him; may he rest in peace.

His will be done,



July 9, 2015, Thursday, Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Genesis 44:18-21, 23b-29; 45:1-5. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.

Responsorial: Ps 105:5a – R. Remember the marvels the Lord has done.

Matthew 10:7-15. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.

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