For the readings of the day, click here.
I am really bad with names. I tell myself that I am better at remembering faces, but that is probably a lie. There was one embarrassing day when I walked up and introduced myself to someone I thought was a completely new face. “Hi, my name is Br. Adam. Who are you?” “Uhh… I am John, we had like a 45 minute conversation like 3 weeks ago. I take it you don’t remember me?” As my face turned Pentecost red, I cover my tracks, “Ohhh, Yea! Of course I remember, I was just testing you!” This happens to me more than I would like to admit.
And yet, we struggle to do that every day when we miss seeing Jesus in the poor, in those who serve us in restaurants, or in our co-workers. Why do we not see Jesus in these people? My theory is that it isn’t that we don’t recognize Christ in the people around us. Rather we have tunnel vision. There are several different videos on the internet that highlight this by asking you to count the number of passes in a basketball game and while you are busy doing that have a person dressed like a 6 foot tall rabbit walk through the middle of the court. It is proven, we cannot both accurately count the passes and notice the rabbit.
Similarly, we become so focused on our life, and rightly so at times, that we start to miss when Jesus walks through our life. We fail to notice that he is calling us to help our own neighbor who is struggling to make it through the next paycheck. This is exactly the reason that we return to the church, to Mass and to the Eucharist to help us to open our tunnel vision to be able to hear what God is saying to us. We seem to get this. It is the reason that many of you here today come often during the week as well as on Sunday.
So what exactly is God reminding us today? The responsorial Psalm has this answer for us: “You are my Son (or Daughter); this day I have begotten you.” We are God’s children. God cares for us as we would care for our own children. We see this in the gospel for today as Jesus tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled… have faith in me”
I used to work at a summer camp. Every summer the parents would drop off their kids for the one or two week camp. Invariably, the parents would say something like, “Don’t worry, you are going to be fine… if you need me, I will be nearby.” Of course, there are some kids for whom this experience of camp is their first time away from mom and dad. However, often the one being comforted is not the child. Rather, the parents are the ones comforting themselves. These parents love their kids and they are genuinely feel some amount of fear that the kid is not going to be ok. However they drop off their kid, knowing that the kid will learn something at this summer camp. And at the end of the camp, the parents and the children are reunited.
Look at what Jesus says again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me… I will come back and take you to myself.”
While this is an imperfect comparison, consider what it would mean if we are like summer campers. Our guides would need to work extra hard to convince us to work together. We may have to work through that skinned knee or aggravating fellow camper, because we are not in this world alone, to create a camp environment where we can learn and love so that we can be a better person when we finally go home to the Father.