Thursday, June 21, 2018

Open Wide Your Hearts

On Wednesday of this week, I walked into the Starbucks on the corner of Lagrange and Joliet Roads in Countryside to do some work on my laptop and just be visible to the community. This was only my second visit, but the barrista had remembered my order from two weeks before, because she said she remembered the large cross I wore around my neck. After about an hour, a man came and sat next to me. "José!" I shouted. This was the same man with whom I had spoken two weeks ago on that first visit. I asked him how his preparation for his mechanics certification exam was going, and then he opened up about his concern about our current political and social climate.

In the midst of our conversation, a mom with two kids, probably about 6 and 8 years old, named José and Antonio, came up to me. The mom said she and her boys would like one of my free prayers. "What should we pray for?" I asked. "We'd like to pray for all of those children being taken away from their families at the border." My heart was crushed. So, we stood in the middle of Starbucks, our hands on each others' shoulders, and prayed for those children being imprisoned in an abandoned Wal-mart, heartlessly ripped away from the comfort and safety of their families. Even through the sadness, I felt joy that we could share our anxiety and prayers together.

Our reading from 2 Corinthians this week ends with the words, "We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you. There is no restriction in our affections, but only in yours. In return--I speak to you as children--open wide your hearts also." There is so much Christ can do, if we only open our hearts wide to the anxieties, experiences, and needs of others. José's and Antonio's request for a prayer is a sign of a need for comfort in a time of crisis and despair. In a similar way, our celebration of Gay Pride is a recogntion of the adversities that LGBTQ persons have suffered and an affirmation of the truth God has led them to embrace. As the Lord says in 2 Corinthians, "at an acceptable time I have listented to you, and on a day of salvation, I have helped you." May we open our hearts to receive the salvation that God is offering us through each other.

Fr. Ethan+

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