Reflection for Thursday November 1, 2018: All Saints, Solemnity.

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Authors
Kalkowski, Julie
Issue Date
2018-11-01
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Essay
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en_US
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Growing up, I spent a considerable amount of time with my cousins.  Whenever we would go to my Uncle Denny with a grievance, he would nod and just say, "Life is hard."   Which is not what you want to hear when you are 6 or 10 or 14 years old.  Or 60 for that matter! |For some reason, that image kept popping up in my mind as I read today's readings, especially the Beatitudes.  A verse from another day's reading about how we are supposed to 'love our neighbor as ourselves' also kept surfacing in my thoughts.  Are we being called to comfort those who mourn or who are persecuted?  Are we being called to be peacemakers?  to be meek? to be merciful?  These are not traits that are associated with our individualistic, competitive society that values winners over the kind, or the decisive leader over the open-minded one. For some reason, today's readings seem to be so opposite to what our culture values.|We have all lived through hard times in our lives.  We all had experienced times when we were in mourning or felt somewhat persecuted.  And doing those times in my life, I was so grateful to the people who comforted me or encouraged me instead of judging me as a weak, indecisive person.|We are in a such difficult time in our country with so much bitterness and disdain for those on the opposite sides of the aisle.  It feels like what is being described in today's first reading: |(One of the elders) "said to me,|'These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; |they have washed their robes|and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.'"  |Are we going to follow Jesus?  Or is it easier not to engage people in discussions about who we are as a country?  We have to choose …. every day we have to choose as a follower of Jesus.  Avoidance instead of hard conversations?  Isolation over community?|In its annual Stress in America survey, the American Psychological Association found lots of common ground in 2017.  In terms of the top three stressors, 63% of Americans were most stressed about the future of our country, 62% were stressed about money and 61% were stressed about work.  So we have lots of common ground.  What we need is peacemakers who can broker discussions around these issues to foster community solutions, not recriminations. |We need to remember that our country has been through hard times before.   During FDR's first term, he brought in Frances Perkins as his Secretary of Labor.  Ms. Perkins only agreed to take the job if he would back her on ending child labor, providing compensation to workers injured at work, and social security among other issues.  That was not that long ago, less than 100 years.  We have come a long way since then, but we still have a long ways to go.|Following Jesus has never been described as a walk in the park, but we have gone through other periods of distress in our own lives and in our country's history.  Now is not the time to shy away from the hard work of being a Christian.   Our communities and our country need us to take steps towards healing and reconciliation.  |We can hold tight to these words from today's second reading as we struggle to create communities where the Kingdom of God can flourish: |"The reason the world does not know us|is that it did not know him.|Beloved, we are God's children now;   |what we shall be has not yet been revealed."
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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