Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Word of God - In Practice

We take our kids to Mass every Sunday. No, we don't split up. No, they don't have a nursery. No, they don't always behave as they should. But I believe that God looks fondly on our effort. He knows that it ain't easy and that we are doing it for the greater good.

So today, in between picking up our 4-year old off the floor of the church (yuck!) and placing him back in his seat for the 45th time and stifling giggles in the oldest when the youngest was sticking out her tongue at him (funny, I'll admit) I heard something profound. As a part of the homily, the priest said that on our journey to Holiness, we need to learn to see Christ in everyone. The infirmed, the elderly, the poor, the downtrodden - each was made in the image and likeness of God and we need to treat them as such.

Sounds pretty basic, huh? Christianity 101. Allow me to proceed with my story.

Two hours later we found ourselves in the middle of Washington DC. We decided to make a trip to the Franciscan Monastery to walk through the lovely gardens, breathe the fresh air, and spend some time together as a family. But first we needed to grab something to eat - because nothing spells meltdown like trying to contain four young hungry mouths in the middle of the great outdoors.

If you've never been there, the Franciscan Monastery in DC is a sight to behold. The gardens are breathtaking, meticulously kept and expansive. It is truly one of my favorite places. But, outside the grounds of the monastery, there is a different story to be told. The neighborhood is very urban, mostly black, and a bit intimidating for a bunch of kids who live in the 'burbs of Virginia. On our way to the gardens, we sat down to have a sandwich in a tiny Subway on the threshold of the 'hood.

At first we were the only patrons in the Subway. We ordered our food and sat down as other patrons began to filter in. I could see my kids eyes widen. Their lively chatter decreased to a whisper as my 6-year old leaned in to me, "Mom, that guy is scary."

It hit me. These kids have had such limited contact with people who don't look and act like we do, their first reaction is fear. They had no idea what the priest meant when he implored us to see Jesus in everyone. To them, Jesus looks a lot like Daddy, or Mr. Brown or Mr. Baker.... all the people of our neighborhood. But He looks like the people of this neighborhood, too. And they will do well to figure that out sooner than later.

So, we had a great moment where we could bring the Gospels and the homily to life. Who knows if they got it, but I believe that the seed has been planted. I believe the the Lord looked fondly on my effort. We are working for the greater good.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Hi Sharon! Nice post! Would love to see the Franciscan gardens. Where are photos?

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