Storing the Right Treasures

As many blog posts and reflections begin, I have a confession to make. I probably have too much yarn. Now I know, the “probably” I put in should probably be removed, but I’m not ready to both admit I have too much yarn and do something about it. I am a fiber artist with no sales, no following, or customers. I just love to crochet, knit, weave, quilt, cross stitch, I even have a spinning wheel I’m rehabbing. I bounce from project to project, excited to try new techniques and styles. I watch YouTube for tutorials and ideas. Yarn, and all the things I can create with it, brings me much joy.

 There is a problem with this hobby of mine that I’ve noticed over the years. What I haven’t shared yet is that I am a wife and mother of 6 children ages 10 and under. My days are full. Full of homeschooling, laundry, cooking, baking, sunscreen, skinned knees, and picnics. My hobby time is in the evenings. Most of the time, this is fine. I am ok with cutting off housework that didn’t get done in order to have time for yarn and crafts as the sun goes down. But there are some days I find myself resentful of my little people, of their messes and constant hunger, of the churn of the laundry and crush of chores unfinished. I wish for days of silence with my yarn. I feel like projects which are supposed to bring me joy are wearing me down with the slowness of their progress. “Why can’t they just leave me alone?” “Why can’t I have some space to knit (or whatever I’m currently fascinated by).”

Each day that I allow myself to travel along this path the worse it gets. I am trying to store treasure in earthly things. In focusing on the crafting I am not doing, I am missing the opportunities God is giving me in the present moment. It’s like trying to capture air escaping from a balloon or gathering water in a sieve. The more apparent treasure I pile in the unhappier I become instead of the opposite. I am believing that my happiness lies in my ability to create things when I am surrounded with the greatest works of creation I could participate in, my children. The things I make can bring me happiness, but that happiness should be in service of my relationships with my kids and how I am living out my vocation.

 Jesus says, “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” When I choose to be fully present to my family, even in its disorder and chaos, it is also full of love, beauty, joy, and God’s will for our family. These are the treasures that will last a lifetime – beyond a lifetime. Doing God’s will, loving those He has brought into our lives, these are just a taste of the treasures of heaven.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Eye on the Prize

The story of Bartimaeus is echoed in both Matthew and Luke’s Gospel. This image of Jesus healing a blind man (or in Matthew’s case two blind men) is of critical importance for the early disciples of Jesus. When John the Baptist sent his followers to Jesus to ask if he was the Messiah, Jesus asks them to consider what they have seen: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them” (Matthew 11:5). Jesus is referencing prophecies from the Book of Isaiah about the coming of the Messiah.

In today’s world, we are blessed with medicine and technology that would have seemed more than miraculous to a First Century person. People born with disabilities can be helped, children born deaf can be given the gift of hearing, a person who is blind can be taught to read and write. These are miraculous things, which we so often take for granted. 

The lesson I found myself gravitating to as I pondered this passage was that Bartimaeus, while being blind, had found a way to keep his eye on the prize. He did not waver in his attempts to reach Jesus. Even when the crowd tried to discourage him, to belittle him, he did not waver. The Gospel writer tells us this discouragement actually provided fuel for his fervor and he cried out all the louder. 

Bartimaeus knew how he could be healed. He knew Jesus was the one to give him that gift. He relentlessly pursued Jesus with all of his strength. He did not let his blindness stop him. He did not allow the crowd to cause him to pause, to doubt himself or what he knew to be true. What things we could accomplish if we could focus on them the way that Bartimaeus focused on Jesus. Now, stop and think of what God could accomplish in us if we did not pursue “things” but rather, pursued Him.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Hunger

“I’m hungry Mama,” complains Rolly, the little Dalmatian puppy in the classic 101 Dalmatians film. How often, as a mother of 6, do I hear these words every day. Someone is always hungry. Even as I write this, I’ve fed one child and fully expect to be asked if it’s snack time within the next fifteen minutes by at least two others. Just at lunch today, my 6 year old proudly pronounced, “I’m always hungry, unless I’ve just eaten.”

In the Gospel today, Jesus tells His listeners that He can provide such food so as to make the eater never hungry again. For those who live with relative food security, this may sound like a nice promise but perhaps won’t be moved by its shocking assertion. For anyone who knows, or is currently living in a situation where food is scarce, this statement would stop them in their tracks, as it did the listeners of Jesus. These were people for whom food was not a guarantee. Depending on one’s job there were relative levels of security, a Pharisee for example, would not be as concerned about his meals as a fisherman. 

Recall who Jesus typically taught. These were the poor, the socially low, the forgotten and the everyday ordinary. How their ears would have perked up, their attention focused, to hear Jesus’ claim that if they come to Him He will make it so they are never hungry again. 

Today we know that Jesus is speaking of a deeper hunger than physical. We all hunger to be loved, to be accepted, to be safe. We act and make decisions based on these hungers. Often we try to satisfy them with things of the world, but we always find ourselves hungry again. In speaking this way, Jesus is drawing upon the common experience of hunger and asking His new followers to look deeper within themselves. 

We all share a common physical hunger for food, Jesus does not diminish this need. But He has come to satisfy our common hunger for God’s presence in our lives. Every human, from before Jesus’ time to this present moment, has a hunger for God’s presence. Unfortunately, this hunger gets twisted inside of us due to sin. And it is fitting that Jesus offers living bread as the remedy. By eating the fruit in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve brought Original Sin to themselves and their children. Now, today and everyday, Jesus offers bread which will transform us and satisfy us. 

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Leave Your Boats Behind

He is risen! Alleluia! The most life-changing thing has happened in the lives of our dear apostles and where do we find them today? Fishing. Unsuccessfully at that. 

Skipping down to the end of the Gospel reading, John reveals that this encounter with Jesus was the third time since the Resurrection. Twice before this day, Peter and the others had seen and spoken with the risen Lord. And still, by their actions, we see their doubt, their unbelief. 

When we want to feel comfortable, when we are unsure of change, what is the human response? We find something familiar, a past habit or location, something we are sure of. For Peter and the other apostles with him, that place of familiarity is in a boat on the sea. John is showing us that they are returning to their old way, their previous habits and professions which had sustained them before following Jesus. But look, where they were previously proficient, they find themselves lacking. They caught no fish! 

Something has changed, they are fundamentally different men. It’s not that they have forgotten how to fish or read the waves and winds. John is exploring how deeply encounters with Jesus change who we are. Peter can no longer provide for himself. He and the others can’t “go it alone” as so often we try to do even today. Only when Jesus reveals Himself and provides a way forward do they make their catch. And of course, in God’s goodness and generosity, it is a catch more sizable than they could have ever achieved.  

Today we find ourselves at the start of the Easter Season and in the middle of the Octave of Easter (the initial 8 days after Easter Sunday). The newness of the Resurrection is still tingling in our consciousness and daily life – or is it? Have we already become like Peter and the others, unsure, perhaps unbelieving, and looking for our old comforts and habits to shield us from the radicalness of God’s saving work? Have we found ourselves drawn back into our comfortable boats, trying to reconstruct a known life from before?

In his reflection on this passage a few years ago, Pope Francis said: “Let us all remember this well: The Gospel of Jesus cannot be proclaimed without the concrete witness of life. Whoever hears and sees us must be able to read in our actions what he hears on our lips, and give glory to God.” Take some time today to consider how the reality of the Resurrection is shaping you into a disciple of the Lord. How are you different this Easter season? How have you grown? Can you, like Peter, jump out of your boat and go to the side of Jesus with enthusiasm and joy?

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Rejection

Rejection is often a difficult pill to swallow. At some point in life, everyone experiences rejection. Maybe it was from your high school sweetheart, a boss or job interview gone sour, your coveted university, a parent or significant adult figure. The list goes on. Some rejections are minor injuries. They sting in the moment but we bounce back, healing quickly with a good lesson learned. Other rejections cut more deeply, their wounds can fester and push against healing salves. These wounds can shape who we are, or at least our perception of who we are.

The Gospel today is a challenging one. Jesus’ parable of the master and the unruly tenants pushes us to look closely at our own lives. When God reaches out to us, are we receptive to His summons, or do we behave like the tenants? 

Jesus is utilizing this parable to teach multiple lessons. It’s about our relationship with the master, God the Father. It’s about obedience to the call of the Kingdom, to be productive workers within God’s good order. It’s about opening the Kingdom of God to all people, not just the chosen people of Israel. Significantly, it is also about Jesus’ own person and His role in the story of salvation. Jesus is the son that was slain, Jesus is the stone which the builders rejected. 

As Lent continues, we struggle to keep pace with our Lenten fasts. These fasts, these rejections, serve a number of purposes. Fasting teaches us self discipline. A well chosen fast will highlight areas of our life that we are clinging too tightly to. Fasting is also the conscious choice to reject something because we see that rejection can have a higher purpose as it draws us closer to God.

As it happens, there are two sides to rejection. There is rejection which wounds, but there can also be rejection which heals and brings growth. When Jesus died on the cross, He took the rejection handed to Him by humanity and flipped it over. Through His wounds, life springs forth and healing becomes possible between us and our Creator. We are called to a similar view. When we feel rejection, we can let the wound fester or we can look for the other side of the coin. When we choose to reject, we should look carefully at whether we are causing injury to ourselves or others, or finding a way to promote healing and growth.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Lent is here! Get it into Gear

Day Two of Lent and we are well on our way along the well-worn paths of Lenten themes. Jesus comes out strong today with some classic Lenten phrases: “Deny yourself, take up your cross, follow me,” and “Whoever loses his life will save it.” You might be thinking, “Woah there, Lent just got started. Isn’t that a little strong for the opener?”

Both yes and no, from my perspective at least. Yes, this is a strong way to begin Lent. Just look at the last line of today’s Gospel, “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit himself?” These are revolutionary words since they go against pretty much all of human nature. Consider the first sin of Adam and Eve. They grasped for what they thought would make them happy, would broaden their horizons. But at what cost? 

Up and down the centuries, this sin of pride and greed, this grasping for what is out of our reach, has thwarted the best and worst of us alike. We all struggle with a deep fear that what we have will be taken away and we will be left without. So we work, we grasp, to gain whatever we can that we think will protect us from this fear. Jesus is pressing on that fear, deftly identifying with surgical precision the root of the human condition. Lent is here, get it into gear says Jesus.

At the start of Lent, a time when we are supposed to take the time to look inward and discover where we need to grow, Jesus is pointing out to each one of us a good place to start. What are we fearful to lose? What are we doing or acquiring that we think will alleviate that fear? How much time or space does it consume?

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t want to gain the whole world. I’m not some mad scientist trying to take over the world after all. I just want to be comfortable, to have security for the future, food on the table, normal stuff.” I’m glad you’re not a mad scientist or evil genius, but Jesus is asking you to consider stretching yourself this Lent. What does it mean to be “comfortable?” What would Jesus consider “comfortable” if He walked into your home today? 

Are we supposed to care for and provide for the families God has given us? Yes, of course! But we are also supposed to care for our neighbors, strangers, others, with love and support as well. 

Lent is a time where purposefully widen our gaze. The world encourages tunnel vision – I do me and you do you. We are called to something more. We are members of a community, a Body. We lose ourselves when we struggle to gain alone. We find ourselves when we work together for the good of each person in our community. 

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Sent on Mission

Take only a walking stick and sandals. I’ll be honest, I don’t know if I could do it! Jesus thinks of everything I would try to stuff in my pockets or layer up so I had some mental security about how I would sleep that night. Just reading these directions fills me up with “What ifs.” And, I would imagine, my concerns are precisely what Jesus wants to dispel from His disciples. 

Jesus, the Son of God, gave the disciples authority over demons and the charge to preach the Word of God he taught them. Their whole purpose, their reason for going into these towns, was because the Son of God had commissioned them to go. Their mission was not their own. They weren’t traveling for pleasure or business or because they had some personal stake in the venture. They were sent, with clear and distinct purpose. 

To further emphasize the unique quality of this mission, Jesus insists that they place their bodily security in the hands of God the Father as well. The extreme reliance on God’s Providence further encouraged them to realize that their mission was one of Godly proportions. This was no ordinary jaunt through the countryside.

Jesus continues to send disciples today. Though the methods and directions of the sending may look different from the original ones He gave the disciples, the message and purpose has not changed. We are each uniquely called by Christ in baptism. From this calling, we are each uniquely sent out into the world to bear witness to the Good News. 

It would be wise, especially as Lent approaches, to consider what we are choosing to carry with us as we walk in mission for Jesus. Have we become weighed down by the trappings of the world, our business endeavors, an overemphasis on social media, politics or technology? If Jesus were to speak to you today, what would He insist you bring along on the mission He has for you? What would He insist you leave behind? 

As a way to discern the answers to these questions, consider incorporating a weekly fast into your routine. For just one week (Sunday excluded), select one fast. Then, select a new one for the following week. Some examples would be refrain from social media scrolling, no desserts/sweets, no alcohol, refrain from eating between meals, no unplanned spending, or not using the snooze button on your alarm. What is challenging to leave behind? What is an easy fast? Use that knowledge to help you discern the things you are clinging a little too tightly to, the things that maybe Jesus is calling you to let go of so you can be a more effective evangelist for His Kingdom. 

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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God’s Providence

“They were like sheep without a shepherd.”

When sheep do not have the boundaries of a field fence, or the guidance of a shepherd to direct them, they wander and range without concern or care. They follow their nose, looking for food, not noticing if they are near a cliff or a bunch of bramble.

As broken human beings, we struggle to keep ourselves oriented toward our Creator. We wander and waver, following a path for no other reason than that it was under our feet. We seek out things the world tells us are good, even if they lead us close to cliffs and gnarly undergrowth.

Jesus and his disciples had just disembarked from a boat they used to escape to a deserted place to rest and recover after much preaching and healing. But the people, who had found in Jesus something attractive, something real, someone to follow, came after them. Jesus observes them coming into this deserted place as sheep would, no plans or preparations, they were just following the trail of something good.

Rather than send them back, Jesus takes pity on them and begins to preach. We all know this story well. The people have no food, the disciples find a few simple loaves and fish, Jesus blesses them and the miracle occurs. This passage from Mark, and its counterparts in the other three Gospels, have been the source of much biblical and theological scholarship. Usually the focus is on the Eucharistic element of the breaking of the bread and the community sharing in the miracle.

Branching off from that point, I would like to turn your attention to the deserted area the people came to. They were drawn by Christ’s presence there, led by His previous teachings and hungering for more. They came without a plan, not knowing what they would hear or do next. They simply came. And when they were hungry, they turned to Jesus and his disciples with trust and expectation.

This simple faith is all that Jesus needs to work miracles in our lives. We are constantly being called by Jesus to come follow Him. However, He doesn’t always tell us where we are going, who will be coming with us, what we should bring and what we ought to leave behind. He asks us to trust in God’s Providence to provide for our needs. No matter where we are led, God will provide for us, perhaps in ways we do not expect. No one would have ever expected the gift of the Eucharist, yet this Sacrament of Sacraments has sustained the Church through good and bad, through arid deserts and flourishing community.

We may be like sheep, but we do have a Shepherd, if we choose to follow Him.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Mary’s Magnificat

Mary’s Magnificat is one of the most well-known Scriptures. It is used in the Liturgy of the Hours for Morning Prayer every day. It appears as the Gospel reading more than once every single year. There is so much packed into these 9 verses.

Mary, who we know was a deep thinker and pondered the things that happened to her in her heart, had had some time to begin pondering the message of the angel. Part of the angel’s message concerned Elizabeth, who herself was experiencing a miracle. While I don’t believe Mary doubted the angel’s news, I can also imagine her immense joy when she came to Elizabeth’s home and found the angel’s words to be true.

Mary’s Magnificat is a prayer, a song almost. She praises God’s goodness and mercy. She also affirms what she has known to be true in her own life, our God is a God who keeps His promises. At Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary found both the words and the courage to boldly proclaim the wonders God was working in her own life. She takes ownership of her new role: “All generations will call me blessed.”

I heard recently that as we continue closer to Christmas, this time has in a way been akin to pregnancy. Looking back, it was in March when the lockdowns began. We celebrate the Annunciation on March 25. We have journeyed for 9 months through this pandemic as a mother journeys through pregnancy, each day with something new to learn, a new discomfort to deal with, a new reality to grapple with.

Only the young believe that after having a baby life returns to “normal.” Any parent will tell you that having a baby, be it your first or your tenth, changes your life. There is a new reality, new challenges, new joys.

Let us look toward the future with a hope that is akin to Mary’s hope. Mary’s Magnificat praises God for His goodness, His faithfulness and His mercy. She trusts that just as God has cared for the lowliest of His people He will care for her. This is a profound act of faith, and it is one we are being called to this Christmas season.

We have the opportunity to make the same profession of faith that Mary made in her Magnificat. God isn’t just some being out there, God is here, present, right now. He is waiting to be welcomed into our heart as He was welcomed into the lives of Mary and Joseph. Mary’s Magnificat recognizes that no one is beneath God’s loving gaze.

As we move forward to Christmas Day, may you feel God’s presence intimately in your life. As you lay the Christ-child to rest in the manger, may you feel Him being born anew in your heart so that you can boldly proclaim with Mary, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!”

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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The Call

Here we are, the first Monday of the first week of Advent. As Catholics, it’s kind of cool that we get to jumpstart the New Year while the old one is still winding down. Hopefully we found energy and fervor in yesterday’s Mass which encouraged us to joyfully embark on the year ahead. But if yesterday felt lackluster, for whatever reason, the Church in her wisdom made sure to follow it up with a strong Day 2.

We meet four disciples in a mere four verses of Scripture today – Peter, Andrew (whose feast day it happens to be), James and John. Two sets of brothers, two calls of Jesus, two nearly identical responses. Matthew doesn’t mince words in this particular story. Jesus calls, the brothers drop what they are doing, and immediately follow Him.

There is something to be said for Matthew’s lack of details and practically no dialogue at all. When Jesus calls you, you come. Period. How simple it sounds! We know that these men were not perfect, the Gospels do not hide their faults from us. But they did have their moments of clarity, and for these 4 this was one of them.

What can we learn from this brief yet profound exchange? Clearly when Jesus calls you to something it ought not be shirked away from. Often there are things, or even people, we need to leave behind. We don’t always know exactly where Jesus is calling us to. Becoming “fishers of men” isn’t the most detailed or understandable goal for a journey.

One of the great themes of Advent is Mary’s fiat, her “Yes” at the Annunciation to God’s plan for her life and for the salvation of the world. Today, the first working day of Advent, we are blessed by not one, but four yeses. There are similarities and differences between the two experiences, but the end result is the same.  Though they did not know how at the time, each person’s life was radically changed by their intimate encounter with the Lord.

We are being called to a similar encounter. This is a brand new year. What opportunities is God calling you to? How can you give your own yes to His summons? God is calling you by name to something extraordinary, even if it feels ordinary. No matter who you are, you are called to share the Good News of God’s amazing love in a unique and beautiful way.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

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Servant Leadership

It is hard to think of myself as a “servant.” As a wife and mother of 5, I spend the vast majority of my time in service to my family. But I am quick to point out to my children that I am not their servant and no, they don’t get to “order” lunch like at a restaurant and are expected to put their own shoes away. There is a difference between being of service and being a servant. To be of service is not connected with your identity. You are available to help, but there is a prior choice to be available. Thanks for your assistance would not be out of place and is probably expected.

To be a servant, however, is a piece of who you are and what you do. A servant doesn’t get to choose which orders to follow and which to distain. A servant is awake before the master and asleep after him or her. A servant does what he or she is told and is expected to be obedient without complaint.

The words of Jesus today are difficult to swallow. Thank goodness we don’t walk this journey of faith alone. Today is Pope Saint Leo the Great’s feast day. Leo was pope from 440-461 AD and did not waste a moment of his pontificate. One of the pope’s titles is the “Servant of the Servants of God.” Pope Leo took this to heart as he guided the Church through tumultuous times. He defended the faith from multiple heresies and attacks, promoted the belief and understanding of the mysteries of Christ, and took great efforts to provide quality, relatable pastoral care for the faithful. Leo truly saw himself as a servant-leader in his role as the head of the Body of Christ on earth.

Leo took a stand to protect the fullness of the faith where others were swayed. He insisted on peace where high tempers and conquest ruled the day. But it wasn’t all political and geographical concerns or heady theological debates. Leo also was deeply concerned about the individual faith of each member of the Church. “To him, being a Christian was not only about embracing the fullness of the Gospel theologically but living it out in a world filled with hurt, suffering and needs” (Catholic Online). One of his most famous sermons is used in the Office of Readings for Christmas.

Pope Leo the Great was an active servant of the Church. He saw many needs in the Body of Christ and took it upon himself to care for each of them. The Church owes a great deal to Leo’s determination and his awareness of God’s will for his papacy. When we are feeling lost or overwhelmed in how we are being called to be servants of the Father, we can look to Pope Leo’s clarity of vision and wisdom and ask for his intercession and guidance.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.

Seeing All the Characters

The story of The Good Samaritan is referenced widely in religious and secular circles. We all want to be the Samaritan, the one who reaches out and helps. We see the Samaritan as the hero of the story. The role of the Samaritan is indeed critical. Without him, the robbed man would have probably died on the road. However, we shouldn’t dismiss the other characters in Jesus’ story. In particular, the robbed man and the innkeeper.

As much as the Samaritan offered his assistance, the robbed man had to accept it in order for this scene to work out. He could have curled up, expecting the worse, and turned aside as the Samaritan came down the road. He could have rejected the help since it came from someone considered “unclean.” When we are hurt, excluded, or in the depths of pain and sorrow, it can be easy to lash out at those who would help us instead of raising our head and hands to accept what they are offering.

There is also the innkeeper. A few years ago, I read a book by Jane Knuth, a St. Vincent de Paul volunteer, entitled Thrift Store Saints: Meeting Jesus 25⍧ at a Time. In one section, a donor is feeling that she doesn’t do enough for the organization, since all she does is give money. She does not dedicate time, doesn’t encourage others to come to the store, etc. Jane responds to her:

A careful reading will reveal that it’s the innkeeper who actually does the work of taking care of the hapless traveler. The Good Samaritan gives some preliminary help and foots the bill, sure, but the innkeeper is put in charge of the long-term effort.

The parable shows a need for both immediate assistance and a long-term refuge.

As we continue on in this pandemic, I believe it’s important to recognize that there are times we fill each one of these rolls. There may come a time when we feel like the robbed man. Circumstances swirl around us and everything is beyond our control. We hurt, we bleed, we cry out for aid.

There may be days we need to be the Good Samaritan. We can reach out to a friend or neighbor who is struggling. We can drop everything to listen when a friend loses a job, or isn’t sure how they are going to handle working from home while their children participate in virtual learning.

We may also be called to be the innkeeper. We are in this for the long haul. We may have the opportunity to walk with someone through loss, grief or sorrow. Perhaps we have had to take on caregiving duties for a family member, or find ourselves serving our children’s education in a brand new way. The innkeeper is the daily grind, the one who gets up each day to meet the same problems head on.

Jesus continues to reveal truth to us through this parable, even today.

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Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife and mother. She is blessed to be able to homeschool, bake bread and fold endless piles of laundry. When not planning a school day, writing a blog post or cooking pasta, Kate can be found curled up with a book or working with some kind of fiber craft. Kate blogs at DailyGraces.net.