Dt 30:10-14 / Col 1:15-20 / Lk 10:25-37
A young mother was having one of the worst days of her life. Her husband lost his job; the water heater exploded; the postman brought a stack of bills she couldn’t pay; her hair was a mess, and she felt fat and ugly. She was almost at the breaking point as she lifted her little one-year-old into his highchair, leaned her head against the tray and began to cry. Without a murmur, the little one took the pacifier out of his own mouth … and gently placed it in hers!
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Compassion: He didn’t know the word, but his heart knew the need. And he gave what he had! In so many ways, we are the makers of one another’s worlds. Minute by minute, we create the mini-world we live in together. And most of the time, we haven’t a clue as to how huge is our power to bring joy or sorrow, healing or injury to one another.
For example, together, at this very moment, we are creating a short-lived little world right here in church. Other people, whose names we don’t even know, set the stage for us: Dusted and vacuumed, delivered fresh flowers, and even turned on the air-conditioning for us. But now it’s our turn: To make a place that’s calm, peaceful, and welcoming, a place where we can help each other experience God’s loving presence, and God’s strength, comfort, and support for us — just for a little while.
We do that in countless little ways: By the way we come in and the way we leave, the way we sing and the way we pray together, the way we make room for one another, the way we make quiet for one another. In so many ways, we create or we destroy something wonderful.
The whole of life is like that: From the moment we open our eyes in the morning till we close them at night, we have the power to create and the power to destroy, the power to give our gifts — large and small — and the power to withhold them.
Probably none of us will ever encounter a dying man lying at the side of the road. And most of us will rarely be called upon to make a truly huge sacrifice for another. But all of us will encounter thousands of people whose lives we can make a little richer, a little happier because we were there and because we gave what we had — just like that little tyke who gave away his pacifier.
At every moment, each of us has something to give, something that’s needed. Will we give it? We simply must, because giving our gifts is the only way we’ll ever find happiness. Life is not a spectator sport! Giving our gifts — all of them, every day — is the only way we’ll ever make a life and find happiness, the only way we’ll ever grow into the image and likeness of God.