We Make a Difference
Thoughts on the Second Readings – Joe Frankenfield
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Most of us respond ‘aw shucks’ to the good we do. Especially when someone notices that our good deeds appear rooted in our faith, we blush, look down and scuff our toes in the dust. Maybe this arises from an assumption that only priests and sisters are really fitting examples of faith since they’ve put aside marriage and family for their way of life. Maybe the Church’s habit of focusing on the extraordinary, even miraculous actions of those it designates saints makes our ordinary lives seem too humdrum for God to be operating there. Neither is true. Maybe it’s just how we are.
In the grand scheme of things an ‘aw shucks’ attitude about helping a friend or forgiving an enemy isn’t a big deal like turning our backs on starving people. It can even be kind of endearing. But here’s something to think about. If we don’t have a sense that God is working through us for good – even great good, we run the risk of not taking our potential to make a difference seriously. If we’re blind to that, people suffer – not directly from what we do to them but indirectly by what we do not do for them.
Being aware that the benefits we provide depend on God’s Spirit directing us as well as the matrix of enabling good that others create around us is crucial. Without that we accomplish nothing. Still, it’s we who decide to act and we who spend our energy to make things better. The love we give, the aid we provide, the life and beauty we create are gifts we give and gifts we’re given.
Too many people in our world are hungry and hurting and ignored. Too many of life’s needs are unmet. Too many human advances remain unfulfilled for us to mutter ‘aw shucks’ about our abilities – physical, moral or intellectual. In a room full of braggarts that may provide a refreshing moment but the truth is that God has done great things in us and more will follow.