You may be unaware, but I suffer from high levels of anxiety.Â I know itâ€™s absurd, but itâ€™s just my lot at this point in my life.Â Case in point: over the last four months, youâ€™ve surely noticed that our offertory collections have been significantly higher.Â Youâ€™d think Iâ€™d be very happyâ€¦grateful for your stewardship of treasure, but the opposite has been true.Â You see, we can track our offertories week to week as the years go by and without much trouble we can regularly and accurately predict each weekâ€™s offertory.Â That hasnâ€™t been the case during these months.Â Iâ€™ve been seeking the reason, but to no avail!Â The economy is still not that strong; weâ€™ve not seen a huge increase in worshippers; our music & liturgy havenâ€™t really changed that muchâ€¦and my homilies arenâ€™t any shorter.Â So, my anxiety levels have been up: why the sudden and drastic increase in giving?Â Why is it still staying up?Â How long will it last?
Well, thank the good Lord, last week it came back down to steady!
I know: itâ€™s absurd for me to worry and be anxiousâ€¦and these only confuse and confound meâ€¦and Iâ€™m distracted from the reality and truth that our people have been generously sharing from their treasure and that God is clearly blessing us.Â Yes, anxiety, distraction and the resulting confusion are not helpful, and yet, they are age-old challenges are they not?
St. Paul speaks of distractions and the cloudy focus they impart.Â Even in our first reading, we hear the Israelites praying NOT to hear the voice of God nor see His presence, erroneously thinking that either holy experience would lead to their doom.Â And even our Lord in todayâ€™s gospel experiencesâ€”in those present at the synagogueâ€”how confusion keeps them blinded to who Jesus Christ really is.Â Sure, the crowd is fascinated by his teaching and they are enthralled by his miraculous works, but they fail to hear that he is â€œthe Holy One of Godâ€.Â No, the amazement over Jesusâ€™ powers does not at all mean that the people believe in himâ€¦and so they miss a crucial and life-changing opportunity to accept the revelation of Godâ€™s chosen One.
May the same not be said of us: my each of us struggle with and, God-willing, overcome our many anxieties, distractions and resulting confusion; may we be able to see & hear Jesus for who he really is, and with the Holy Spiritâ€™s aide, rejoice that He comes into our midst to share his life, death, and resurrection with us.