The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise

Burdens We May Not See

November 5, 2017 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause

November 5, 2017
Matthew 23: 1-12
Fr. George Smiga

Brittany Darras teaches English at a high school in Colorado. At a teacher-parents conference, a parent came up to her to explain her daughter’s long absence from class. Ms. Darras was not prepared for what she heard. The parent explained that her daughter had tried to commit suicide. The police had thwarted her efforts, and she was now recovering in a nearby hospital. Ms. Darras was shocked. The girl in question was an intelligent, friendly, beautiful young woman. No one had any idea that something was wrong. Ms. Darras decided to write to the girl. She sent a handwritten note affirming how much she admired her academic excellence, her personality, and the many friends that were a part of her life. She said that she and the class missed her deeply and waited for her return. Ms. Darras’ letter became a turning point in this young girl’s recovery. She told her mother, “I can’t believe that someone said so many nice things about me. I always imagined that no one would remember anything, if I was gone.”

The letter also became an epiphany for Ms. Darras. She began to think how many more students in her tenth and eleventh grade classes were carrying a similar sadness. Of course, there was no way of knowing. So Ms. Darras decided she would write to all of them. Over the next few months, she hand-wrote 130 letters telling each student the goodness she saw in him or her. Now, of course, finding goodness in some students was easier than in others. But she found something of genuine value in each one of the students and expressed it. Some of the students never responded to her letters. But many did, expressing their thankfulness. A few students told her that they would keep the letter she sent forever. When she was asked how she could write so many letters, Ms. Darras responded, “Once I realized the difference that even a simple act of affirmation could make, I found plenty of time to write.”

There are people around us carrying heavy burdens. Some of them we see, and some of them we do not. But the message of Jesus in today’s gospel is that we are called to ease the burdens of others. The criticism that Jesus directs to the Pharisees is actually addressed to us, because there are times when we do not even lift a finger to ease the burden that someone is carrying. Now, of course, there are some burdens we cannot budge. We cannot heal a person of cancer. We probably do not have the resources to make whole someone who is experiencing financial collapse. But, there are simple things, easy things, we can do. And they can make a difference. As the experience of Ms. Darras shows us, such things can be as simple as an act of affirmation.

What does it cost us to tell another person the goodness we see in him or her? It is our failure to do that simple action that Jesus criticizes in today’s gospel. He asks, ‘When was the last time you told your son or daughter how good she or he is at a particular task or ability? When was the last time you told your spouse why you love him or her? If it has been awhile, what are you waiting for? Is there someone at work for whom you are thankful? Why not let them know it. Do you have friends who are true blessings for you? Why not tell them what they mean to you.

Now, of course, when we give affirmation, some people will take our comments in stride, thank us, and move on. But, others may be hungering to be reminded of the goodness that is theirs. They may be carrying burdens we are unable to see. That is why Jesus asks us to love freely and to affirm others generously. Because, being his disciple is not only a matter of doing difficult things—like changing a person’s heart or moving a mountain. Sometimes doing his will is simple—as easy as lifting a finger.

Change this in Theme Options
Change this in Theme Options