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Part of the Family

Some of you may have heard me talk about my cousin’s sister-in-law who is a reporter for WGN, Channel 9 News.  She and her husband are parents to a little boy who, because his parents are both working people, spends a big part of his day at a day care center.  In this particular case, all of the care givers at this center are African Americans.  So when he is with his parents, if they happen upon a person of color, their little boy begins to smile and giggle and wave his hands at them thinking that they are the people that care for him during the day.  This causes no end of merriment between his parents and the people he is excited to see.  Even though he mistakes these people for his caregivers, he considers them part of his family.

In today’s Gospel Jesus includes anyone who does God’s will as members of his family.  In so doing, Jesus makes it clear that belonging is a matter of doing.  This does not mean that one must do heroic deeds to be included.  Doing the will of God is simply a matter of responding to the here and now.  We are called to do God’s will in the ordinary tasks and moments of our day.  Reaching out to others with tenderness and kindness does not take superhuman effort.  God’s will is found in the ordinary, the commonplace, and the usual.

In the first reading we learn that even in the midst of a great festival as the Ark of the Covenant is enthroned in the meeting tent, David acts with generosity and kindness by giving a portion of bread, meat and a raisin cake to each man, woman and child in Israel.  This simple action might appear insignificant on the face of it.  However, for these people, whose diet was basically bread and wine, I am sure that the gesture was appreciated.  David is simply acting out the loving kindness that is written into the covenant.

Practicing such random acts of kindness is something of a movement in our own time.  There is a web site on the internet devoted to people who espouse random daily acts of kindness.  It is, indeed, a wonderful way to live out the admonition to do the will of God and to extend God’s loving kindness which we receive in each Eucharist.

Fr. Lawrence

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