The inflation rate of food and beverage is still higher than the inflation rate for everything else combined. No wonder so many of my friends who vowed they would NEVER shop at Walmart are now jostling for a spot in the check out lines of that same retailer. We need bargains and deals. Coupon use is at an all time high.
It was almost amusing to hear economists rejoice, yes, rejoice, that the advance 4th quarter 2008 GDP numbers released yesterday were not as bad as they feared! Make no mistake, they are still bad, but it's interesting when "not as bad as we feared" is the only sign of hope that some people have.
Life is tough. One day it will come to an end. Some are so depressed and hopeless that they hope their end will come sooner than God plans.
This is what IT, life, is all about. Yes, we are "to know, to love and to serve Him" but we also have to live according to His plan for us and in His time. This, too, shall pass. We have to play the hand we are dealt. Your will, Lord, not mine.
Tough times bring out the best in some and the worst in others. I know I'm frequently pessimistic about many things, but when it comes to hard times (I'm no stranger to them) I'm actually an optimist. I believe hard times bring out the BEST in us. Correction: they CAN bring out the best in us. It is for us to choose. Am I going to be the best I can be or...not? Am I going to let life drown me before I get to shore or am I going to surf until I get to shore safely?
Yesterday, our Gospel reading at Mass was one of my favorites from St. Mark. Basically,(and this is not an approved translation!) the disciples are in a boat on a rough sea in a storm and Jesus is sleeping in the stern (on a cushion no less!). The boat is taking on water and eventually the disciples (who are probably bailing like mad at this point) say: "Teacher, uh, can ya get up and do something? We are dyin' here! Do ya care?" The Lord awakes and barks "Quiet!" I amuse myself by pondering if he was really talking to the disciples ("Shut up! Can ya see I'm sleepin' here!?") as much as to the elements.
It's not funny because wasn't He really addressing both the disciples AND the elements when He said: "Peace! Be Still"!? He was. He rebukes the disciples for their fear. It comes back to "Be not afraid" "Do not be afraid" Sometimes I wish Pope John Paul II were still alive. His call not to fear was the theme of his pontificate and we could use the reminder now.
The Lord is not in need of sleep like we who are fully human are. Look at His tireless ministry. Honestly, how many times in Scripture is He sleeping? I'm scratching my head and I think this passage is the only time recorded of Him sleeping.
Just because the Lord was asleep, does that mean He was not aware of what was going on? He knew the disciples were afraid. The disciples were being tested. When times were tough, when fear took hold, would they call on the Lord for help? Yes, they did. But, would they call on the Lord only when the boat was taking on water? If the passage were smooth would they let the Lord sleep? Would they even think about Him then? Probably not. They are like us. "Lord, Lord.." when times are tough. Silent when the way is smooth. Without the continual relationship with Him in good times and bad when it comes to the end of all things the Lord will not know us. Do you like people in your life who only call when they need something and ignore you the rest of the time? I know I don't. I'm hard pressed to spend 2 hours with them, much less eternity. Probably, another sign of the Lord's mercy, it's not my call to make who gets to be in Heaven. Thanks Be to God.
We are afraid today. Life is under siege. Our life. Unborn life. Family life. Christian life. Neccesities of life. Are we only calling upon the Lord now? We should be walking with Him all the time. I should be.
The Lord sees our struggles. He sees the struggle to put food on the table. To find work. To keep a roof over our heads. To afford a converter box for digital TV. To buy an iPod. Some struggles are major and some are only made so by our desire for comfort. The disciples were not comfortable in that water-logged craft but they were alive, they survived, and they had the Lord.
Who's in your boat?