On Saturday, I attended the evening vigil mass instead of my usual 10:30am mass on Sundays. The readings are the same as Sunday readings. I arrived late and didn’t get a chance to see what the first reading was. The second reading was 2 Timothy 6-8, 13-14, the gospel reading was Luke 17:5-10. My thoughts on both of these readings will be brief, because the moving part of Saturday’s mass for me was the unusual homily. As I mentioned before in another Scripture related post, regardless of your religious background or level of spirituality, you can gain something from my thoughts that you can relate to.
In the Timothy reading, stanza 7 stood out to me: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” To me, this means that we were all blessed with the ability to power through any task God gives us, to love all people and creatures of this Earth including ourselves, and to behold knowledge and common sense to guide ourselves to happy lives. Everything God has given us is a blessing, even if we may not recognize it or it may not be explicit in scripture.
As for the Luke reading, the last line is profound to me. “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Essentially, what we do are those duties that God gave to us when putting us on this Earth. Not everything we do will make us profitable in money or status, but it is something we have to do. This is where the Luke reading ties into the homily given on Saturday.
At my home parish, there is an organization called Father Frank’s Kids. Every year, students from this group come to raise funds for their education and will play music at mass. The students live in an orphanage in Nicaragua (and other Southern American countries) where they are educated by older brothers and sisters (staff members). The orphanage director gave the homily, and it was beautiful and moving. He started off by telling us about his childhood; how he was raised by a single father alongside 2 other siblings and when he was of age, pursued higher education. He was encouraged by the staff of the orphanage; they said he could help the children even more if he went back to the States and obtained his college degree. He eventually received a major in psychology and a minor in social work. He then went back to the orphanage, worked, and became the director. Not only was it an interesting and moving story, but it made me think about how blessed I was to receive a college education and being able to even go to college was a blessing.
If you’re a current college student or a graduate, don’t take your education for granted. It’s truly a blessing to pursue higher education and receive a degree that will take you to higher places in life. There will be trials during your schooling, but know that it all will be worth it when you’re finished. I continue to appreciate the value of my college education and how it has helped me as a post-graduate and will continue to help me in my occupational pursuits.
The homilist then told everyone how we can help the children. He mentioned donations and how you can even sponsor a child. But the most important thing we can do for the children? Pray. If you’re not religious, it doesn’t need to be a prayer. It can just be kind thoughts or good vibes. But he wants us to pray for the children and the orphanage. We also should pray for our loved ones, for those who have no one to pray for them, and even ask God (or another higher being) for help when needed. It’s a blessing to have a religion such as Christianity to believe in; and I’ve truly lived a blessed life that I try not to take for granted too often.
I not only want to talk about the blessings of humans though. October 4th is the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals. Today, I took my dog Kelly to get a blessing. It was really nice to have a priest bless my pet because she has brought so much joy and happiness into my life. It’s been a blessing to have her as part of our family, and I’m sure she feels blessed to have been adopted by a loving, caring family. If you get the chance, try to take your pet to get blessed and remember how much of a blessing your pet has been to you and vice versa.
May everyone, human or animal, be blessed and realize the blessings life has given them, even if you may not recognize the blessings in your life right away or are trials. Try not to take everything good for granted, and pray for those who need help and could use a blessing in their lives (which is everyone). Even if you’re not religious, just realize that you are blessed in so many ways. Recognizing your blessings is part of your happy and healthy adventure, which we all deserve to enjoy and be blessed with 🙂 ❤