Friday, March 4, 2016

Missing Pieces

This Christmas I was given a challenging zigzaw puzzle.  I enjoyed and was frustrated working on this puzzle during my evenings.  The ultimate frustration was when I finished to discover a piece was missing.  This was a new puzzle so when I began I am confident that all the pieces were present.  So the missing piece was a result my own carelessness.

This is much like the reason for our Lenten season.  When we begin life, all the pieces for happiness are present, especially once we are  baptized and original sin is washed away.  As life continues because of our carelessness and the carelessness of others, pieces begin to go missing.  Gaps of sadness, sinfulness and suffering sneak in.  These gaps can only be healed with the grace of Jesus Christ.
The Sacrifice of Mercy for us all

In particular this Lent, Pope Francis has called us to experience a Jubilee Year of Mercy.  This is a great opportunity for us to improve ourselves, our faith and civil communities,  and even to improve the world.  During Lent every parishioner has been challenged to complete all of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy.  This idea is actually based on a movie called "Little Boy" where a priest gives this assignment to a little boy needing hope.  One act of mercy can change the world.

At Blessed Teresa of Calcutta the congregation has engaged in "visiting the sick".  We have a young parishioner with serious cancer.  When she had her surgery she had no insurance.  Now she does, but it is not the best.  The church sponsored a fundraiser where I offered folks an opportunity to shave my head. This event was mentioned in the local newspaper. People really worked hard and had a lot of fun.  I was deeply moved by people not members of our church who came to support her.  Some folks traveled from a neighboring town just because they wanted to help someone who was suffering. They did not know her or anyone else in the parish.  They saw it in the paper and wanted to make a difference.  That is mercy in action.
A new look for the mercy of Christ

This is one example of filling in the missing pieces of our life.  Each act of mercy is a form of conversion.  This is how we turn our stony hearts and the stony hearts of others into hearts of flesh.

Winter Knitting Give a Away

Wrapped in the warmth of Christ
Both of our missions are recipient of many acts of mercy.  Two groups help us in "clothing the naked".   SAM's club of my hometown parish of St. Timothy Catholic Church, Maple Lake, MN and St. Bede and St. Olaf Knitting Ministry out of Williamsburg, VA regularly send us handmade quilts, knitted hats, gloves, blankets and shawls.  These acts of love brings joy to those who make, appreciation to our local communities and much need warmth to those who receive them. Now during winter, it is fun to spot children with these knitted items.  Baby quilts and knitted baby blankets are birth gifts and baptismal gifts. The layers of the effects of these handmade items may not always be obvious.  Yet, missing pieces are filled in.

The message is someone cares  At one of our get ready for winter give away,  a woman was tears for getting a free handmade quilt.  She could not believe that we would give her a quilt when she was not a member of our church.  She said no church just gives things away. My response was, " Christ gave us his life, I think we can give you a quilt." 

All of this helps fill in the missing pieces of our lives with  kindness, thoughtfulness and mercy.  Thank you, Jesus, for filling in the gaps and missing pieces of our lives.  Thank you for those who are sacrificing time and finances in sharing their missionary hearts here in Union and Grainger County.  Thank you Jesus for you mercy and the mercy of our disciples.  Thank you for everything.