The pictures of the earthquake that hammered Italy last week brought back a flood of memories and thoughts. As a student in Rome between 1971-75, would you be shocked if I revealed that often were the days when, in spite of a possible conflict with a scheduled lecture at the university, I would “escape” on a primitive inter-city bus and journey into one of these picturesque villages and take in the local culture, dialect, architecture and, of course, the bread, cheese and wine. I have walked in piazzas (town squares) that today are no more.
We think that what we have will always be, but in a heartbeat, it can be taken away. Life can change so quickly, for good or ill. In the span of one 1-minute phone call, I went from a son to an “executor” of mom’s estate. In the span of another phone call yesterday morning, I now know my brother must face very serious surgery but possesses a body that cannot endure such a procedure. All you think you have can change in a moment!
This is a reflection that I hope will make you both appreciate and ponder. Look at the relationships you are blessed with. Are you grateful and do you show it? Note the blessings you have received in life, do you sincerely give thanks to our loving God who has blessed you so? Are you truly appreciative for all you have received and are you willing to share with those who have so much less? Do you take to heart that life is a journey, and that any point on that trek it is merely that – only one stop. Change, for good or ill, marks our existence, and will do so subtly, lovingly or with the fury of an earthquake (even sometimes literally). What you think you own is just yours to use, for a while.
So there is a reason I often ask you to pray for us as a church community. Pray about the changes that will come, whether we plan them or not. Pray for our sisters and brothers in this parish for we don’t know how long any person journeys with us. Pray that we always keep before us the vocation we have been given. Pray that with the Spirit’s guidance and help, we live into our calling to make Christ present to the world and we are grateful for all we have and for every thing and person given to us.