When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. As a kid, it just seemed that life would be better when I was finally an adult and then I hit my 18th birthday and it didn’t really mean anything. I thought well, maybe when I turn 21 then I’ll have made it and all of those freedoms I want will be there. I turned 21 and nothing really happened. So, I said, maybe when I finish school and things start to get moving in my life, maybe when I turn 30 I’ll finally find that thing I’m looking for. And when I turned 30, I just wanted to go back and be in kindergarten again, where I could take a daily nap and not have to worry about it.
When I was younger time seemed to be going pretty slow. The school year dragged out, my next birthday always seemed far away, I couldn’t to wait until I was old enough until whatever it was and now that all that has seemingly arrived, time seems to just be flying by. I think that is an American problem. I think most of us experience this, where our lives are just crammed full with so many things that we move from one thing to the next to the next. We check things off our to-do list, we get things done, we go to bed, we get back up. We do the same process over and over again, and we never take a moment just to step back and look at the big picture to see where we have come from and where we are going.
If you are anything like me there can be times in our lives where days and days seem to fly by, weeks go by, even a month goes by, and then you finally stop and ask, where did all of the time go. Yet, this way of life can lead to a deadly trap because we begin to lose focus and just sort of become human machines. Most especially we fail to recognize the many blessings that come to us in the midst of our daily life. What is it for you? When is the last time you stopped and stood back to see all the good things that have come into your life?
For myself, I have found that if I take just 5 minutes every night before I go to bed, and look back on my day. First, I ask for forgiveness from God for any shortcomings and then to find those moments of blessing in my day and give thanks to God for them and this totally changes my outlook on life. There are blessings that go on moment by moment in our lives that so often go unnoticed. No matter how difficult of a day it may. No matter how often we might have failed in a day, if we prayerfully step back and look at our day, we can’t help but be filled with gratitude. Gratitude for the fact that we were given another day to live, gratitude for our health, for our family, for all those little small things that we often times don’t acknowledge.
For myself, every night there are certainly small things I am grateful for, but there are the usual things as well. My health, my family, but also the blessing of being assigned to a parish that is so active and so involved. Not every parish is like Sacred Heart. I can tell you in my work at the diocese, I see many parishes, and not all of them are like this. That gratitude I experience then is what allows me to go to sleep and wake up the next day and it gives me the energy I need to fulfil another day of service another day of laboring in love for whatever comes my way.
My friends, gratitude is the root of all true love and all true sacrifice. When we recognize how much we have been given in our lives, we can’t help but be compelled to try to give something back to God and our neighbor. All of us, no matter where we find ourselves in our circumstances right now, have to admit that we have been given allot and so we have to heed the advice of Jesus who reminds us that “much is will be required of the person entrusted with much and still more will be demanded of the person with more.”
Every day before I go to bed, as I county my blessings, one of those blessings is the opportunity to serve at this parish. I don’t think we say it enough, but the truth is you are what make this parish the special place that it is. It’s not Msgr. not me, it’s each and everyone of you who day in and day out, in your own way offer of yourself to create the community that we have here. I don’t know about you, but I know I am extremely grateful for a parish like this and that generosity personally spurs me on day in and day out to wake up and labor in love for those people here in this parish. And so, this week I would like to invite you to stop for a moment and to step back, to view your life from 10,000 feet instead of from the particular moments. I invite you to think of the big picture of life and ask yourself what do I have to be grateful for. And as you begin to identify those many blessings in your life, perhaps it would be smart to take a moment this week and ask how God wants you to use those blessings in service to him and to one another.
 Lk 12:48