I admit it. I am a news junkie. Morning and evening I am tuned into the news to keep up with what is happening in the world. I get news feeds at work. I listen to a news station in the car. It seems I am addicted. Sigh! It’s a tough habit to break. Whether the news is good or bad, I’m going to know about it.
Today’s readings are scary. Jeremiah has us in tears over our incurable wound and Jesus tells us that at the end of the age, the angels will harvest the weeds from the good seed. The weeds will be cast into the fiery furnace, but righteous will shine like the sun. My first thoughts were about our world today, and the culture of our times. So much of the news is bad and can be depressing.
Well, all is not as bleak as we might want to believe. For all the evil manifesting itself in our world, there is just as much good also manifesting itself. The recent news about the rescue of the Thailand boys from the flooded caves comes to mind. It was an international community that banded together to make this miracle happen. And whether any of those involved say it in so many words or not, these folks remember the God who gave them birth! They remember that good will always, sooner or later, defeat evil. They remember that every life is precious, so they did not count the cost in time, effort or personal danger to make the miracle happen. This is just one grand example, among the many grand, as well as simple examples, of good sowing the seeds of grace and manifesting love.
Those of us who stand on the promise of Jesus I spoke of a few weeks ago – we are the good seed. Think of yesterday’s parable of the mustard seeds and yeast spoken of in the Gospel. We are those who know that, in spite of today’s world situation, God is still here and we will not forget his presence. Our mustard seeds will grow in time to become the huge bush that will give shelter and sustenance to the hopeless, the migrants, the homeless, the addiction trapped, the unwanted babies and children who need us. And we will be the yeast that will leaven the bread of human kindness to rise and give hope to all by living and professing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with courage; to live it with virtue. I believe it was Maya Angelou who once said that courage was the greatest of all virtues because it is by courage alone that we can live by all the virtues. We pray, with confidence in God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that we will be among those harvested for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is our souls at stake.
Being so tuned into the news does two things for me: 1) the news becomes a springboard for prayer. Very specific prayer based on what I hear; 2) it also allows me to know of the good in people who come to the aid of others, from the cave rescues down to the child who runs a lemonade stand to buy toys for hospitalized children or the couple who adopts six blind children with special needs.
All is not well with our world, and yet much is well. We are challenged to do whatever we can to make it better. Start with the simple. You may just find yourself doing the grand.
Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles.