Usually I like to write my Sunday reflection immediately after returning from the service at St. Mary’s while the meaning and feeling of the service is still fresh. This Sunday however, the Washington Nationals game interfered with my schedule (and how convenient; I was already wearing red!) So as I sat a bit disconnected from the experience of worship, my focus and inspiration were a bit lacking, even as I reviewed the readings and Gospel assigned for the Feast of Pentecost. I was easily distracted from the task at hand.
Then I caught a portion of the commencement speech at Catholic University yesterday given by Jim and Jeannie Gaffigan. If you don’t know Jim Gaffigan, he is a stand-up comedian with a refreshingly clean act composed many times of commentary on his family life with his wife and collaborative partner, Jeannie, and their 5 children. They have always been unabashed regarding their Catholic faith (he refers to his wife as a Shiite Catholic for her strict adherence,) and their speech on Saturday was no exception. They spoke in depth of all the impossible things made possible in their lives through, and only through, making God and family the centerpieces of their lives. Despite his surging success, Jim warns. “Remember, true happiness is not found in accomplishments, income or the number of Twitter Followers you have. True happiness is found in family; living for each other, sacrificing together, and enjoying the blessings of fresh guacamole delivered promptly to your door.”
We all belong to many families. Our immediate family, our extended family, our church family, etc. On Sunday, we welcomed Saunders Troha into our church family with his holy baptism. Our connections extend far beyond our bloodlines, diocese and national borders. Today’s Collect asks that we “Shed abroad this gift [of eternal life] throughout the world by preaching the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth;” and I would define ‘preaching’ rather broadly to incorporate our works, not just our words.
This Sunday we were all called to share our gifts and talents in the life of the church. We all have this opportunity to live for one another and sacrifice together by giving of ourselves and receiving blessings from other members of our Christian family. While shedding the gift of eternal life to the ends of the earth may seem an impossible job, God really does make it possible if we utilize the gifts He has already given to us. In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds us that “[those] who believe in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works…” Wow, how empowering! And if Jim Gaffigan is right, we may even find true happiness while we do them.
What special talents/gifts has God given to you?
How can you use your gifts to do great works in His name?
What stands out to you from this weeks service?