The Gift of Faith: Freedom To Care
Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Amos 6:1, 4-7

A father once told me about a disturbing story he had seen on the previous night’s news.

“It was a little kid crying from hunger in her mother’s arms at an emergency feeding station in Africa. She sounded exactly like my daughter crying at night from a bad dream. It made me uncomfortable. I picked up a magazine and began to read to get away from it. Later on I talked with my wife about it and decided that my discomfort was that I was couldn’t do anything to help the little girl.”

“What would you have done if that had been video of your daughter visiting friends in Africa and not getting enough food,” I asked?

“First, I’d never have let her go to a place with such problems. Second, I would have gotten on the internet and sent money to that aid organization immediately. Then I would have gotten myself a ticket on the next plane to that town.”

“So, you wouldn’t be totally helpless. You’re saying there were actions that you might have been able to take if you had to?”

“I guess what really makes me uncomfortable is that I know, ultimately, I don’t care about that little girl enough to do what I can for her. That’s unsettling. What do the things I say I believe really mean? I know I can’t make everything right but I also know I can do a lot more than I do. I’m afraid to let myself care too much because of what it could cost me. And I’m not satisfied with that about myself.”

Thinking about our conversation now, it occurs to me that if Jesus were to sum up his life in one sentence, he might say, “Allow yourself to believe in the faithful, loving God that I’m revealing to you. That faith will free you to love those around you as much as you love yourself and your family.”