Dear Parishioners and Friends,
It’s easy to identify the problems, the challenges, and everything that’s wrong with the world. It’s so easy to focus on the darkness, the broken, the dysfunctional in our midst. To curse, to despair, to put down. Cities under siege, election campaigns, a global pandemic, violent weather, tragic accidents, blatant injustices. The media, including social media, keeps fueling this negativity. So powerful is this cynicism, it sometimes only takes one to infect the group. It’s so easy to identify what’s wrong with the world.
I recently watched a presentation by Dewitt Jones, photographer at National Geographic, in a 2017 TEDx talk. It was essentially the same presentation I heard him give several years ago, and the message is as relevant today as it was back then. Using the lens of his craft, Jones challenges the audience to see what’s right with the world. As he states, “Wouldn’t you want to focus on the light rather than the darkness…what’s right rather than what’s wrong?…That’s the change we make when we put on the lens of celebration.”
When taken within the context of our faith, this simple message reminds us how we are called to live. For us, it begins with gratitude for daily bread. It continues through our willingness to take on the daily work of charity, perseverance as we meet the daily challenges, attentiveness to the daily hunger and longings of others. Do we feed on the healthy, life-giving, and graced-filled abundance or does our diet, both emotionally and spiritually, consist of riddled words or junk-laden fillers? Do we bask in the light or dwell in the dark shadows? Is our cup running over or completely dried up? Are we able to see through the lens of celebration or is our lens cracked or blurred? Do we use the correct lens?
In turn, what are we for others? Do we help others see the blessing of daily bread, the abundant banquet, the incredible rays of light, the overflowing cup, the celebration of what is right and just, good and sacred?
Indeed, with many issues facing us and choices required of us, it’s so easy to approach these challenges by dwelling on the darkness, the broken, the dysfunctional in our midst. To curse, to despair, to put down. To simply see what’s wrong with the world.
Or, to bless one another, to offer hope, to lift up. While never ignoring the many challenges, this alternative seems to work far better. And I believe Jesus would agree.
May we celebrate what’s right with the world!
Joyfully yours in Christ,