Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Last Sunday’s indoor picnic was a blast. The way the Pastoral Council members all pitched in really blessed our summer. They enlisted the help of others and together we had a great time. Special thanks to Scotty, whose superior pancake grill was repurposed for excellent burgers and dogs. You can’t beat a Nathan’s frank, nor can you duplicate a Martinez spatula.

Not least on my list of appreciated moments was being able to scoop out a (modest) ball or two (ok, three) of softened ice cream. That way you could get a good blob without grunting. Also, you could scoop more quickly before too many people noticed. Connie Reed was an encouraging face behind the tubs. She didn’t count my scoops.
Depending on when the count was made, somewhere between 59 and 80 people made it. If you didn’t make it, not to worry, because I’m sure I had a little of yours. You missed a good time. I remember remarking to someone that as I looked around the room, I saw the core of the sunbird (year-rounds) parish. It was a nice place to be.

You know I start writing this letter on Monday or Tuesday before it appears. I usually look at the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday just to see if there is something that sparks an idea. The Gratitude or Greed header came from knowing that I wanted to say thanks to the people who prepared our picnic, but lurking in the back of my mind was also the theme emerging out of the readings this weekend.

You’d be amazed at just how many things you can find about greed. I’m pretty sure before today arrives I will have sorted them out to some extent before I get to the homily. I guess we’ll all find out.

If I asked you, “What word(s) come to your mind as opposite(s) of greed?” Would ‘generosity’ pop up? It does for me.

Generate is another word in the same family. Basically, generosity finds its roots in the idea of giving birth and in giving birth to be aware of something outside yourself. That’s the short path to the miserable rich man Jesus describes in today’s gospel. Greed binds him up in himself.

I read an anecdote from one of my sources about Dr. Karl Menninger of Menninger Clinic fame. The world-renowned psychiatrist was talking on one occasion to an unhappy but wealthy patient. He asked the patient what he was going to do with so much money. The patient replied, “Just worry about it, I suppose.” Menninger asked, “Well, do you get that much pleasure from worrying about it?” “No,” responded the patient, “but I get terrified when I think of giving some of it to somebody else.” Then Dr. Menninger went on to say something quite profound. He said, “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.”

Therefore, you’ll be happy to know that, according to my mother, my mental health is good. I don’t remember the specific reason for the question, but I once asked her, “If there was one word you could use that would describe your (seven) children, what would it be?” She didn’t take any time at all to say, “You are all generous.”
As I thought about it then, and continue to think now, she was right. My siblings are generous with their time and talent and treasure. This wasn’t supposed to be an advert for Stewardship, but it comes out that way. I am so blessed to have a family where we all not only still talk to each other, but actually like each other. I didn’t realize how blessed we were until you run into sad situations where family feuds are more than TV games shows.

So, opt for Gratitude! It wins every time.

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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