You Are Our Refuge

We are certainly living in a quickly changing time. When I was in grade school in the 50’s (gulp), adults talked about great occurrences 5, 10, 20 or 30 years prior. These days, something big is happening almost every week. We have an important election coming up and never in my lifetime have there been two candidates that are complete polar opposites. It’s kind of scary! Yet, has anything really changed since Jesus’ time? The persecution of believers began when Jesus started his public ministry. Humanity has changed very little. We have a fallen nature that we need to fight against every day.

If you grew up in a God-fearing family and have strayed away from the faith of your youth, then today’s reading from Ecclesiastes might be good for you 11:9 – 12 – 8.  “Remember your creator in the days of your youth”. I can certainly relate to those words. I was touched by the Lord at four years old in the basement of a Free Methodist Church. I sometimes wonder if I would be a deacon if weren’t for the Pastor’s wife that picked me up for Sunday school. She modeled prayer and love for Jesus. She loved that little guy (me) and taught him well.

I doubt that the disciples in Luke 9:43 – 45 thought much about their childhood. (Remember, Jesus is the one that told them to back off and let the children come to him.) Jesus says, pay attention to what I am telling you. Yes, I know that he withheld its meaning from them, but given time they still didn’t get it. Except for John, where were the others at the foot of the cross? Wasn’t Jesus always their refuge? Yet, in our daily moments of distraction from God due to our sadness, grief, anger, loneliness, being forgotten, self-pity, etc., we may step away from God’s refuge and wallow in our own misery. But wait. Is that really necessary? As Catholics we have the greatest gift in the universe. It is not a symbol or a thought in our minds and hearts. It is truly his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity that has entered into us in the Eucharist. Yes, it is true. If you would like a refresher, go to John 6 and read it several times. It is Jesus himself teaching the universal Church about the Eucharist. And what happened after that? They all left. … except the apostles. Jesus did not soften his words to pacify the crowd. He delivered it as it was, solid truth. And now, 2000 years later, people are still walking away from him, not believing his great gift of the Eucharist.

Yes, our refuge is in him. He gives us what we need. Just imagine being in His arms as John was at the Last Supper as he was giving himself to them (Eucharist).

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Deacon Dan Schneider is a retired general manager of industrial distributors. He and his wife Vicki recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. They are the parents of eight children and twenty-nine grandchildren. He has a degree in Family Life Education from Spring Arbor University. He was ordained a Permanent Deacon in 2002.  He has a passion for working with engaged and married couples and his main ministry has been preparing couples for marriage.

An Appointed Time For Everything

Time. An interval that constantly ticks forward, one second, one blink, one breath, to the next. There is no judgement or bias, right or wrong. It just continues on.

The lines from Ecclesiastes in today’s reading are lyrical. There is an appointed time for everything. Why then, am I so resistant to something I cannot control? Time moves forward yet I sometimes believe I can hold on to it as a child holds a beloved stuffed animal. There is a time for hugging and also a time for letting go.

As a child who stomps her foot while saying, ‘stop, stop, stop,’ I cannot stop the death of a grandparent or a beloved friend. There is a time to die and there is a time to be born. I cannot stop the rotation of the sun across the sky or how the wind blows over the earth.

The passage goes on to say that God has appointed tasks for mankind to carry out at the appropriate time, into our hearts without our knowing it. We all are called to use the gifts and talents that we’ve been given to do those tasks.

It is a new day. Let us thank God ahead of time, for the gift of this day. Let us do what needs to be done today. Amen.

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Beth Price is part of the customer care team at Diocesan. She brings a unique depth of experience to the group due to her time spent in education, parish ministries, sales and the service industry over the last 25 yrs. She is a practicing spiritual director as well as a Secular Franciscan (OFS). Beth is quick to offer a laugh, a prayer or smile to all she comes in contact with. Reach her here bprice@diocesan.com.