by Kate McCormick
Fifth Sunday of Easter (Mother's Day Weekend)
May 13, 2017
Listen to Kate's reflection or read the text below.
Asked by Leif if I would give the Reflection on the Word for this evening's mass, I immediately declined because I was already committed to an annual beach trip for Mother's Day. Yet, I felt really honored to have been offered this vote of confidence, and so decided to challenge myself to write the reflection anyway . . . just to see.
So, after reading the scripture passages for May 14th my first thought was "thank God I said no." But then I reminded myself that I quite often have a reaction of "huh?" after hearing or reading the bible texts, and I usually need to read them several times hoping to understand the messages. Sometimes it just comes across as a foreign language. Perhaps that is unique to me, as I am an extremely literal person. I like simple, specific, to-the-point dialogue. But then I thought maybe it's not just me who is wondering "what was that even about"? And maybe right now you're wondering "so what is this all about?"
Well, this is about what I have been experiencing here at St. Charles. Such as, by recently presiding at a Lenten service, and by being a very unlikely member of the liturgy committee, and even writing this reflection, I am really working to understand those underlying meanings in the bible to deepen my faith and ties to God. I couldn’t stand up here and explain deeper meanings, or dare to present any moral messages.
I can say however, that I am so glad I accepted Sr. Phyllis' invitation to join the liturgy committee. The depth of knowledge about the bible and workings of the church that the other group members possess and share brings such valuable learning to me. I had no idea of the amount of effort required for a regular mass, let alone ones for special occasions.
I sit in the liturgy meetings and mostly just listen, but I am part of the group and feel appreciated even though unable to contribute too much. A task we all share is being in the rotation to compose intercessions for the weekly mass, and I have found it especially rewarding. I have lost track of how many times when it's my week to write the prayers that I'll finally sit down to accomplish the assignment and go through the week's readings and--I am not kidding--I’ll read something that speaks exactly to an issue or problem I had been stressing about. It seriously jolts me and energizes my commitment to pray and explore ways to broaden my faith.
Likewise, saying Yes to doing this reflection, and the one in Lent, I found myself delving into various books and research material for ideas. And even if I don't always understand the messages, just the effort of going that extra step, trying to catch up and follow Jesus, reminds me of what matters.
So, although I am not addressing today's specific readings, I guess what I am addressing and offering is my experience of saying YES. And even though initially I said yes to Sr. Phyllis' invitation with the belief that I was doing her the favor, the benefit has been mostly for me. I'm grateful to her, to Fr. El, to Leif and to so many of you for the acceptance, involvement and welcome that St. Charles provides. So, what I'm suggesting is the idea of everyone saying yes more often, and then prepare to be surprised and enriched on a journey that would never begin if you'd said no.
As I keep discovering how much there is to do and learn, I am more willing to say yes when asked. Just being asked, I believe is a vote of confidence. Someone is telling you "I think you can do this." But maybe the part we don't hear is "and I could sure use some help." And the more we help others the more we help ourselves - truly a win/win for everyone.
So, to conclude let me share from the May 14th entry in The Little White Book: "Mother's Day began as an event to encourage peace and bring people together in the aftermath of the Civil War." I did not know that, and only learned it by saying Yes at just the right time, . . . along with “please” and “thank you” more often which is what all parents try to teach their children to do. I say Yes and thank you to God. And happy Mother's Day to all the nurturing women here and throughout the world.
Peace be with you and with us all.