Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Patrick,
As we all know it turned spring this past Tuesday, Sept. 22nd. Signs of new life, the end of a dormant winter. Finally, it’s spring in the air!
Well, at least for the southern hemisphere it turned spring as we turned the seasonal page to autumn. And for us “northerners” autumn quickly transitions into the winter months. As an old Irish proverb states, “Autumn days come quickly, like the running of a hound on the moor.”
I raise this point as we think about the universal nature of the Church and her ability to exist in the midst of every culture, economy, political system, and social dimension. This is especially important as we ponder our own existence within the larger context of the world in which we live. The joy of our being Catholic—truly universal—is also a challenge as we consider the needs of all of our brothers and sisters. Some needs are close to home while others are thousands of miles away.
How do my actions impact lives beyond me and my life? How do local decisions impact a broader community? Everything is a choice that can have a significant impact on others:
- the food I bring into my home,
- the products I use to build or remodel,
- the stocks in which I invest,
- my cellular phone service,
- my manner of discarding my garbage or unwanted things,
- the clothes I purchase,
- how I commute to work,
- those l elect to public office,
- where I choose to dine,
- my choice of credit card,
- how I vote on issues,
- where I vacation
and so on and so forth.
In other words, do I see life merely through the changing of my own seasons or do I appreciate that life is different for others in this world, according to their own seasons?
What season does the immigrant find himself in? In what season does the young black woman experience her life? What season is it for the homeless man? For the grieving widow? What season is it for the expectant mother? What season is the unborn child experiencing? What season is it for the police officer? For the starving child? What season is it for the Christian punished for practicing her faith? For the elderly man unable to visit with his family?
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”Ecclesiastes 3:1
I have never liked being called an American Catholic. I prefer to be called a Catholic who is an American. I am proud of both. As a Catholic, I am a disciple who follows Jesus Christ. As an American, I am a Catholic who is called to be a faithful citizen. As a Catholic commanded to go out to all the nations, I am challenged to embrace each and all the seasons—not simply the one I am experiencing in Northeast Ohio. Not merely in my own personal world.
Faithfully yours in Christ,