+Dear Saint David Parishioners,
The first reading today reminds me of my dear parents. My Dad was blessed with a very lovely and worthy wife, my Mom. We kids would think it weird when dad would swing mom around dancing to one of their records and then give her a big smooch. We would all shriek, “Ew!” Mom and Dad would just laugh and give each other a loving glance. As I fondly remember these times decades later and reflect on their love for each other, I can see it was definitely selfless love. Mom and Dad had their priorities straight and we kids witnessed it firsthand. For them, God was first, then each other, followed by us kids. My parents were surely generous, especially when one considers all that is entailed with raising 11 boys and two girls, such as, doing three loads of wash a day, keeping the house clean, peeling five pounds of potatoes for dinner, getting the weekly groceries, changing 1000s of diapers over a period of time for 13 babies, packing lunches for school, and all the other happenings of daily life in a big family. In my estimation, Mom and Dad have a high place in heaven for their countless labors of love.
My parents also had a holy fear of the Lord, striving daily to do God’s will. When we kids knew money was tight, we would often hear Dad say to Mom, “Leona, don’t worry, God will provide. We’re rich in livestock, not money.” We could tell he really believed that God would provide and although we didn’t live in a mansion, we had plenty – that is of what really matters, the deep love of our parents, the learning and living of our Catholic faith, the fact that hard work and determination are important in life, and that helping those less fortunate than ourselves is a sacred responsibility. Another important life lesson stemming from living our Catholic faith in action was that, after an argument or fight with one or more of our siblings, we were expected to forgive one another. Often the forgiveness was begrudgingly, but then one of the brothers would make a funny remark and the air was cleared until the next time. Life is never perfect, or problem-free; therefore, we experience more peace and joy in life when we let go and let God be in control. We deceive ourselves and get into trouble when we try foolishly to reverse the roles and think we are God; we have everything under control. That never works. We learn this lesson over and over and over again! It is part of our fallen human nature. That is why God’s life in us – grace – is so essential!!!
One special blessing for our family was that the public school with a baseball field, swing sets, sliding board, see-saws, and b-ball nets was behind our house, so that when Mom needed a break, she would enthusiastically invite us to go outside and play. We gladly obliged; otherwise, it would have meant some housework project, like cleaning the cabinets, and any kid in their right mind would obviously choose the playground over a household task.
As the second reading reminds us, “We are children of the light.” By focusing our individual lives and those of our families on living and practicing our faith, we need not fear the evil one because Jesus is always with us. We just need to entrust our lives to Him each day and He will and does always provide us with the graces we need to do His will. Jesus has gifted us with the talents and abilities to follow in His footsteps. It is our responsibility in life to use these blessings to the best of our ability for the greater honor and glory of God, for our families, neighbors, and those in need. With God’s grace, we have the hope and confidence that when our earthly life is ended, we will hear our loving Savior welcome us into our heavenly home with the joyful affirmation, “Well done, my good and faithful friend.”
In Mary’s Immaculate Heart, I am,