Friday, November 27, 2015

Seasons of the moment

Everything has a season.  Advent and Christmas is on the mind for many.  Yet, October and November has been the marrying and burying season here in the missions of Union and Grainger Counties.
In the center is Jeanette with your daughter waving.  She was our oldest member at age 95.

The burying part really is in every season.  Our oldest parishioner at St. John Paul II died and was buried last week.  This week we buried one of the founding members at Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Church.  Both of these ladies lived holy lives dedicated to Jesus.  Yet, another funeral was for a 28 year old man who died in a car accident in Alabama.  He was from Mexico.  His only relative in the United States lived in Rutledge.  All the arrangements fell on her.  Thank God for a Christian community to reach out and support her.

The marrying season in October and November might be more  unusual.  Yet, the real season for St. John Paul II is tomato season.  There are not many parties in the summer because people are working long days.  In December many are not working at all or for only 10 hours a week.  Therefore, if you are doing a wedding or baptism it will be in these fall months while you still have money and folks are not working in the harvest.

In my missionary work, I have discovered that the universal Catholic church has seasons; we call it the Liturgical Year.  It is beautiful, but it sometimes conflicts with the secular calendar and even more so with the cultural seasons of the local churches.  In Grainger County the tomato season not only impacts the Catholic members, but really the entire county.  In Union county the local events and our members lives are more disconnected.  Many of our people in the English Speaking community are early retirees so they travel in the winter to warmer climates or travel to spend holidays with their children.  So where other Catholic communities will talk about Christmas and Easter Catholics, here Christmas is often smaller than other occasions because people are traveling.

'til death due thee part
The reminder for me, is that one size does not fit all.  Any generalizations need to be humbly articulated because the expections are almost the rule.  Yet, whatever season it is it is always the season of LOVE.  God's grace through Jesus Christ is the primary season.  It is a season of love, mercy, justice and peace.  It shines during moments of sadness as when we say goodby to loved ones in death or moments of happiness when we witness two people pledge their love before God.
new life begins

May whatever season it is in your life, may God be in the midst of it.