Readings of the Day
Our Gospel reading for today (Luke 5:17-26) ends with this powerful sentence: "We have seen incredible things today."
It is true, as one reflects on current and recent events in Tennessee (where I am located) and elsewhere, we, indeed, are seeing incredible things today. So incredible are they that many of us may be inclined to simply "throw in the towel" and give up. Today's events are too incredible.
Ravaging fires in East Tennessee, tornadoes along the southern border of the state (and into northern Alabama and Mississippi), the tragedy - made all the more tragic given the time of year - of young lives lost on a bus ride home from school, the fear of worried parents (including my wife and I) as news began to leak out of yet another college campus "incident" and enhanced concern quickly built for our son, a student at The Ohio State University.
We are truly seeing INCREDIBLE things today, including those events we know of, but may tend not to think about around the world.
But, as we are told in the opening of our reading from Isaiah, Chapter 35:
The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God.
Out of the desert and parched land will come life. In time, we will see abundant flowers and hear joyful song. Through the glory of the LORD and the splendor of God...we will find and experience hope and the positively incredible life we cannot begin to imagine...with Him.
• "Incredible" events - some positively wonderful, others tragically horrible - occur every day. How is it that one word - incredible - can be used to describe such a broad spectrum of life experiences?
• When you find yourself in a desert, how do you "hold on" until the land begins to sprout new life?
• How can/do you reach out to others who are in their desert, to help them until the abundant flowers begin to bloom?
Mark Barry is Director of Mission Advancement for Catholic Charities of Tennessee (Diocese of Nashville). He has been with the agency since June 2010. He has been a member of the Catholic Charities USA Development/Communications Section Steering Team since April 2013.