I would like to share some musings with you. Please come along. First, join me on one of my visits to our sisters in Brazil. I went to the sisters’ farm with Sister Mary Mel. After she took care of her daily business with the man who ran the farm, we left with several large containers of milk. We began our rounds in several neighborhoods and, when the women saw the truck, they came running with their pans and buckets to buy some of the fresh milk. Sister Mary Mel was always helping people with the products from the farm and had many satisfied customers. Here comes a woman with her bucket and Sister Mary Mel said to me, “Here comes God.” The woman came and talked to Sister Mary Mel for a long time and then she filled the bucket with milk and blessed the woman on her way. There was no exchange of money.

This incident has remained with me over the years as an example of recognizing God in others and in our daily life. John the Baptist says in the Gospel, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize …” I go through my daily routines and I know that most often I am shortsighted in my focus and awareness. I know God is in the here and now and in all persons and events of each day. In my quiet time with God, I have to admit that I think “Really, is God in this person I don’t agree with or this politician I can’t stand to listen to?” I know the answer is yes; each one is God’s special son or daughter.

My second experience takes us back right here into the stay-at-home mode of the past year. In my work, I talk to many people on the phone and this was especially true during Covid time. I couldn’t visit in person so I reached out by phone and so many times people commented that they just wondered what God was telling us through this experience. They wondered whether people would eventually come back to churches; whether God was calling us to repentance; whether God was offering time out for us to get our priorities straight. All of them were praying hard for their families and all the world.

John the Baptist described himself as “the voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.” I have noticed so many wonderful acts of love and kindness as a way to respond to this pandemic. I was especially amazed by all the news stories of children who decided they could help by collecting food, making masks, helping neighbors, being “grandchildren” to those who have no one close to help them. It seemed people were volunteering in record numbers in food pantries and in various ways to help others.

Are the acts of taking care of one another a way of making straight the way of the Lord? Are the efforts toward ending systemic racism, caring for our earth, providing health care for those who cannot pay for it, and supporting our front line workers a way of making straight the way of the Lord? Even those unable to go out can help the agencies helping others. We can donate to them. We can help by taking time to reach out to lawmakers to pass laws and appropriate money to help all who are suffering. And we can always pray for them. As we emerge from this year of crisis, let’s keep trying to make straight the way of the Lord through acts of kindness, love and prayer for all God’s people and creation.

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