Good Morning L.I.G.H.T. Families,
Tonight is the first of two Gatherings for the month of October. This time around we will be exploring Jesus’ Justice and how it relates to Human Life. We’ll be talking about how we are all called to respect all life from the moment of conception to natural death. We’ll be doing this using Scripture, video, conversation, and by using our imaginations as we look to see the life around us through God’s eyes.
The topic of Respecting Life came to my mind over and over again last weekend as I participated in a Fundraising Event to support cancer patients and their families. This year’s Dempsey Challenge attracted 3800 participants, 3000 spectators, and hundreds of volunteers – all working together to support a cause and to honor lives. To show respect for lives. The lives that were celebrated included those who have lost the battle to cancer, those who are in the midst of treatment, brave survivors, dedicated caregivers, and many of their families, coworkers, and friends.
I saw people from all walks of life: the ‘Duck Dynasty’ lookalike who ran 10K beside one of my friends each urging one another on, the barefoot massage guy from Mexico with a great sense of humor, the two ladies I met after biking up ‘Puke Hill’ who shared their stories of cancer treatment and survival with me while we caught our breath, the young lady with the pink tutu and a bike shirt that depicted the lovely face of an older woman on the back. To this particular rider I commented that the lady on her shirt must have been pretty special – referring to the fact that they had ten spirited members on their team and a minivan that followed with their ‘support staff’. She smiled at me and said “She was. She’s my mom.”
Then there was the biker who had to call it a day at about mile 45 because she could pedal no further. She was being escorted into a waiting emergency vehicle but still found the strength as we pedaled past to say with humble gratitude “Good job guys.” And perhaps the most poignant, the pale young girl who’s hair was growing back in after an obvious cycle of chemo. She stood at the finish line and simply said to all who passed “Thank You” as we crossed over. Our goal was accomplished, but her fight continues.
The life that filled that park in Lewiston Maine last weekend was brimming with determination, with hope, with respect for each of one us who gathered together – no matter our profession (actor, professional biker, student, accountant, church lady!), no matter our skin color (white, brown, tan), no matter the bike the we rode (road, mountain, cruiser), no matter the sneakers that we walked in (or ran). We were joined together by a respect for lives that have been lost, a respect for lives that are being fought for, and a respect for lives that have been saved.
The weekend was summed up nicely for me when I attended Mass at their local parish on Sunday night. The homilist spoke of how health matters to a community. How anything unhealthy (from sickness to sin) can tear a community apart. How we are called to work to build our communities through healing of every kind. Jesus did this with the lepers, the sinners, and others he encountered. We can do this through our own actions: generosity, humility, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance. We can do this by demonstrating respect for every member of the communities to which we belong. We can do this through fundraising events. We can do this at our workplaces. We can do this in our schools, neighborhoods, cities and towns. We can make our efforts global. However we do it, we should remember that as members of God’s family, we are called to do it. We are called to respect life.
So this month, we’ll begin to look at what it means to respect life in every form. Get ready to use your imaginations as we will together look through God’s eyes, so that we can see in one another what He sees: His children.
I look forward to exploring this with you tonight or Tuesday at our October Gathering.