On January 17, 2017, while driving home from work, I received a text from Steve, our volunteer custodian, that the rectory had experienced severe water damage. He had trouble getting into the front door, and when he entered, he was shocked to see all the ceiling tiles were floating on the floor. Every room in the house was a foot deep in water including the basement.
In times of darkness, it is easy to despair and throw up our hands towards heaven and scream, “why me, Lord.” This is why it is so important to be reminded that even in times of darkness there is light and that we need to look for it.
I contacted the bishop and shared the news that the rectory has suffered severe damage. He was most sympathetic and shared that the community was responsible to work together to find the best solution for repairs. There were no special funds for this kind of disaster, no experts in the PNCC to help and we could not count on Rome or Scranton to bail us out.
What happened next was a “God moment.” Corey, Harry, Karen, Tina, Brandon and Larry and members of our parish committee immediately contacted the insurance company to begin the restoration process. No one panic, rather, each person rolled up their sleeves to mop the floors, contact the insurance, deigned new plans, tear down the walls, install the furnace, rewire the walls, paint the walls, lay the floors, and do whatever it took for the next three years to give this home a new purpose, a comfort home for the dying. From the darkness of despair came the light of generosity and compassion.
Every one of us has something that we are fighting or facing – whether it’s broken water pipes, or something else that can feel equally as devastating: a loss, a setback, a failure. Whenever we’re in the midst of those dark nights, when we feel completely alone, or overwhelmed… When we think no one understands or cares.
...someone reaches out to you after you’ve experienced a loss;
an unexpected friend stops by to see how you’re doing when you’ve been ill and laid up;
...volunteers from this parish and the community step up to the plate to tear down and rebuild, raise funds, and volunteer to work with residents.
This is Our Lord’s spirit alive and thriving in a community that can change many lives. It is Jesus saying: you’re not alone, you’re noticed, you’re cared for, you matter, and never forget that. You are my daughter and son.
When Jesus came to the river Jordan to be baptized by his cousin John it was not for the forgiveness of his sins. Folks were going out to John the Baptist for his baptism of repentance because they knew how messed up the world was, how messed up their lives were. They knew they themselves had not been “without sin”- doing things they shouldn’t have – not doing things they should.
Jesus gets in line with the sinners. He enters the waters of repentance that He doesn’t need – but, he wants to be near to meet us in our brokenness, in our guilt and shame. He’s right here with you now in your lowliness. In other words, Jesus is saying: you’re not alone, you’re noticed, you’re cared for, you matter.
Lord, I pray for all my Sonshine Friends who are experiencing some darkness, poor health, poor decisions and embrace the thought that at this moment the light is shining a path in which you hear the Our Lord’s voice, as He looks at each one of you, saying “This is my beloved daughter, This is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”