The first reading on this 5th Sunday of Easter touches on something that is so real to life, and to our Church community, that it is worthy of some reflection even as we are dealing with, and living in this pandemic times. The reading brings out a basic truth about life—be it individuals, families, Church, organization, etc.—the more you grow, the greater your challenges and struggles. Unforeseen challenges are part of what we must live with, deal with, and hopefully overcome in this life. Life is never complete. With all the miracles, the sharing and generosity, the fellowship and all that we read about the early Church, one would think it was a perfect Church. Far from it! As the Church began to grow, troubles and challenges were right on their heels, as complaints about racism, discrimination, and favoritism reared up their ugly heads. What is remarkable about this development is that the apostles immediately ganged up on the problem, rather than on each other. You see, it is very easy to scapegoat others when we are faced with challenges and tribulations; to take our frustrations out on the weakest members of our family; to exit our anger on loved ones and even sometimes take it out on ourselves. When we are faced with problems as a family, as a Church, as an organization, it is better to gang around that problem and deal with it, and not go about cutting, slicing, shouting, and hating each other. For the Apostles, the solution was collaboration; to seek, invite, and engage the talents of their members; to engage the power we gain when we are willing to sacrifice time and talent to share ideas, work together, integrate efforts and lean on each other with compassion, love, support, and kindness. Collaboration is what solves problems and creates community. As Mother Teresa ones said, “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.” Bringing this down to our parish church family, the question we all need to ask, as we look forward, in hope, to reopening our Church, is this: where can God use me to make St. Michael’s parish recover from this pandemic? What can I do to serve her and my fellow parishioners to help her overcome the setbacks created by this COVID -19 environment? For us, as a Church, to grow out of the impact of this pandemic measures, we will need what each other can bring; how each one can plug in; where we are ready and disposed to sacrifice time, talent and treasure in the service of our Church. This is what will make us great again. May the good Lord continue to deliver, protect, heal, sustain, and bless you all, in the name of His Son, Jesus, Amen.
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