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Have you ever been in a team where everyone is supportive of each other like in baseball or basketball?
I remember when I joined the Army as a chaplain. At the end of boot camp we had our final test; we had to run five miles within a time frame; our whole careers depended on running as fast as we could. Tom, a classmate of mine, was struggling from the moment he came to the camp. He would wake up before us to practice, he would spend extra hours in the field, but the day came and he was far from reaching his goal. I knew his family situation and I also knew that if someone needed to pass the test it was Tom.
As we started the race, I noticed that Tom had a bad start. So, as I passed him, I yelled: “don’t give up”. I ran as fast as I could and caught up to him again in my second turn, I was staying behind him; encouraging him. I kept on yelling, until I noticed that he picked up the pace. We ran together for a little bit. When the race was over he began to cry; his tears came out of joy. He passed the test. There was no problem with his running; he just needed someone to believe in him. He never thought he would make it. In his mind he had given up way before the race started.
Today’s second reading is about helping each other, working as members of a team, a community of believers.
When we grow up, we hear our parents, uncles and aunts criticizing each other. Sometimes their sibling rivalry got the best of them. From an unconscious point of view, they felt better than those they were criticizing. They noticed, for example, when someone did not know how to dress up or behave. They noticed when someone was not honest or when the girl nextdoor got pregnant. Instead of helping, they talked behind their backs, they made fun of others. With time, their family reunions became something to be avoided. Some of us, grew up listening to criticism so when we became older, we continue their tradition of judging and failing to be supportive.
The Christian way of living is about overlooking each other’s shortcomings; forgiving and forgetting. It requires a team mentality and a team effort. It is about being a team where all its members are equally responsible, equally important. When someone makes mistakes, the group helps him, instead of condemning him. In other words, if your aunt is crazy and dishonest, what is important is not what she is, but what you do to make her feel welcomed and loved. If your cousin is a drug junkie, the issue is how much emotional support you can offer to his mother and the rest of the family? There are times when the only thing we can do is praying, so we pray without judging.
When the early Christians understood the message of the Holy Trinity, the holy union, they decided to live in small communities. Their communities reflected God’s love and compassion. Everyone worked and helped each other. Unfortunately, some of them became greedy, they wanted more money than what they were bringing in; required more food than what they were harvesting. When a family member begins to slack, then the whole family falls apart. When a Christian begins to fail, the whole community suffers. We are to watch for our greed, our lack of love, our failure to pray and be compassionate. All our actions count, they can either build up the family or make it crumble.
As we reflect on God’s love, we ask the Lord to give us that love so we can be more supportive, more loving and more compassionate.
Have a nice week.
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Fr. Marc Angelo and Fr. Jacob are very appreciative of your support and your contribution to Archangels and Seraphim Church: please continue to support us by visiting http://archangelschurch.org/ and making a generous donation. You can also send a check to: 2851 W. 120th St. Suite E-279, Hawthorne, CA 90250. May God multiply your generosity in health and love! Thank you
Mass every Sunday at 5:00pm (Spanish) and 6:00pm (English) at St. Mary’s in Palms 3647 Watseka Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034-3914