Reflection published in Give Us This Day by Liturgical Press for Monday July 30, 2018
Under the Shade of Mercy
While preaching a parish mission some time ago, I tossed out the seed that God loves and heals us no mater our illness or our poverty. The seed fell on the fertile hearts of a group of parishioners praying for an ill friend. They asked me to offer him the Anointing of the Sick.
The following day they brought their frail friend to the parish. I listened with all of my heart to the soft voice of the professional athlete who had lost his right arm to cancer. He whispered his fear of death and his anger. We all wept together as I smeared sacramental oil on his forehead and in the palm of his hand.
His friends found solace under the tree that grew from genuine hope. Their mustard-seed faith nourished him and brought them together. Though their friend later died, his death did not wilt their tenacity to search for healing. They continue to grow in faith, and now others rest in the branches of their care, love and outreach to people who are ill.
People find healing on earth when faith is lived, when love grows like a weed, when the small seed of mercy shelters the forgotten, and when we invite Jesus into our pain.
I still throw out seeds in memory of those strangers who were shelter for their friend, all of them longing for the Kingdom of God. I pray we all find shade among such friends.
Fr. Ronald Raab
Ronald Patrick Raab, CSC, is pastor of the Tri-Community Catholic Parish in Colorado Springs. He formerly served as associate pastor at Saint Andre Bessette Church in Old Town, Portland, Oregon. Learn more at http://www.ronaldraab.com.