“Friend, I am not cheating you! Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?”
You’ve been working for this landscaper for five summers now. You’re going back to school in a few weeks and you’ve asked for extra hours. The owner assures you he will do what he can. But one day a new guy shows up and starts work — and the possibility of your working extra hours is out. “Guy’s wife just got laid off,” your boss says, introducing him. “I’m trying to help him and his family by taking him on for a few hours a week.” So much for loyalty, you think.
The task of taking care of your elderly parent falls pretty much on you. Your brothers and sisters live a distance away. They all call from time to time to see how Mom is doing and express their concern, but none of them are in any position to provide the necessary day-to-day help. “They all have problems of their own,” Mom says, “I just thank God for you.” Then mom dies and they all show up, grieving as if they’ve been there all along. And of course, Mom’s estate is divided equally “because I love all my children just the same” — even though it’s your life that’s been turned upside down and you’ve borne the costs of caring for her. Though you would never say it, you seethe: It’s not fair. And you’re right.Continue reading →
We Discover “our Star” in the Ordinary Course of our Daily Lives
“… behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East, and have come to worship Him.”
Perhaps you’ve seen the touching Christmas episode of The West Wing which first aired several years ago but has since been repeated.
A few days before Christmas, Toby Ziegler, the President’s sarcastic and sardonic communications director, receives a call from the Washington D.C. police asking if he knows a homeless man who had died in the cold the night before. Toby has no idea who the man is. The police find Toby’s card in the coat the man was wearing — Toby had given the coat to a shelter a long time ago. Toby discovers that the man was a decorated Vietnam veteran; his only survivor is a brother who also lives on the streets. Toby uses his Presidential connections to arrange for the man’s internment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on Christmas Eve.Continue reading →
“Anyone who loses his life for my sake… will save it.”
Pierre Claverie (Clav’er aye) was born in Algeria in 1938. He grew up in a loving family of French people who had settled in Algeria. He said he lived in a “colonial bubble,” in other words, completely cut off from the majority Arab population. As a young man he was called to the priesthood and joined the Dominicans in France. Despite the political upheavals, he wanted to return and serve in Algeria. He steeped himself in the Arab culture, learning the language and living close to the people. He wanted to bear witness to Christ’s call to reconciliation between races.
In 1981, Pierre Claverie (Clav’er ee) was made Bishop of Oran. Christians in the region were few in number and surrounded by a dominant Muslim population. As Muslim fundamentalists became more powerful, Christians were threatened and several members of religious orders were assassinated. (Clav’er ee) became increasingly aware of the danger he was in, but in this situation he also deepened his understanding of the cross. He did not leave but stayed to bear witness to the love and mercy of Jesus and his promise of eternal life. In 1996 Bishop Pierre Claverie (Clav’er ee) and his Muslim driver were blown up by a terrorist bomb.Continue reading →