Friday, July 22, 2016

St. Mary Magdalene

I finally got my side view mirror fixed! I can change lanes without turning my entire body around and my children will once again ride in the car with me. Life is almost back to normal (whatever that is).

When my father was sick in the hospital for weeks, I sort of took it for granted that I could move in and out of the parking garage without thinking much about what I was doing. One night as I was leaving, I whacked my mirror on one of the poles. Man. Like the situation was not upsetting enough in itself!

My dad died in November last year and I just now took the time to replace the mirror. As I got in the car and headed for home, I heard(?), I imagined(?), I understood my dad to send me a message. "Now, stop straining to always be looking in the rear view, in the past. Live for today. Do not worry about yesterday.  Move forward."

Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus say, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Hmm. This message made me think about the message from my dad (so to speak). I think, he wants me to move forward, to live my life without worrying about the past. Maybe even to let him move on...but I know that's a stretch to believe that I would get that kind of message. But, thank God for the faith to even believe that a Scripture passage could give us such comfort about the one we love who has gone before us. Thank God for the faith to believe that as I drove home and could not control my emotions that maybe my dad was trying to tell me to let go of the past. Even if the message for us today is to stop hanging on to "things", to go to confession and relieve ourselves of our problems so that we can move forward. Even if the message from Mary Magdalene today is to share with others the Risen Christ, to go to our brothers and tell them that it is all real, He has Risen and He dwells among us. Even if the message is merely to believe. Even if all of these things...we should be grateful for the moment, for the opportunity, for the truth, for our faith. On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus ask, "Whom are you looking for?" Let's face it. Everyone is looking for a Savior whether they realize it or not. Stop looking in the past. See clearly without straining. Live fully this day. He is right here in our midst. Believe and live.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pennies from Heaven

He came in a little before 5, as we were about to close, saying that he had found a penny on the ground, looked up and saw our Pennies from Heaven sign. Then, as if from nowhere, he mentions that his mom died and we extend the traditional, "So sorry." But he continues to tell us that as he found the penny and read the sign he could feel her presence and understood that she wanted him to come into the store and buy something. The girls and I were moved. He kept wandering through the sale asking what it could be that she wanted him to purchase. He was from out of town and had limited time to shop. We didn't mind waiting. We too wanted him to find his answer.

Here's the thing. This morning, as I contemplate the encounter, I realize that what matters, what we learn from gifts like this that God obviously has a hand in, is not what the man was sent to purchase but that the man was sent to witness to the fact that we should all be aware of the signs He sends. We should all be open to the idea that nothing happens by chance. Everything and everyone we encounter has a purpose. All is grace. All is gift. That man at that moment experienced a close moment with his deceased mother and shared that moment with the young girls in the store and they in turn experienced the truth that there is so much more to life after life. That man at that moment shared the faith of his mother and the rewards of a life well lived for Christ. That man at that moment turned a simple sign, a penny (what some people consider worthless), into a Godincidence. His message seems clear. Stay awake. Be aware. He dwells among us and He has gifts to give that make a difference to us and to those we encounter. It may seem like something minor, something simple, just a penny, but it can turn into something worth so much more. Maybe riches...of the Kingdom.