25 July, Monday — Confused yet bemused

Jul 25 – Feast of St. James, Apostle

St. James (died 44) was the first Apostle to be martyred. He preached in Samaria, Judea, and Spain. His work in Spain, and the housing of his relics there, led to his patronage of the country and all things Spanish.

Like all men of renown, many stories grew up around St. James. In one, he brought back to life a boy who had been unjustly hanged, and had been dead for five weeks. The boy’s father was notified of the miracle while he sat at supper. The father pronounced the story nonsense, and said his son was no more alive than the roasted fowl on the table; the cooked bird promptly sat up, sprouted feathers, and flew away.

  • Patron Saint Index

2 Cor 4:7-15
Mt 20:20-28

We are in difficulties on all sides, but never cornered; we see no answer to our problems, but never despair.

I am regularly perplexed. By what is going on in the world, by my extreme inertia to exercise, and by the antics of my son. It can be extremely tiring and frustrating. I used to wail and complain at the seeming unfairness of it all. However, I have decided that there has to be a better way to ride these towering life swells.

I have decided to accept complexity. To thrive on it. Because I have found out that I am not the only one with problems (Gasp! What a revelation!).

Now, I am not relishing in the shared misery of the human condition. Schadenfreude plays no part in this. My acceptance stems from empathy and community with my fellow soldiers of God. Because it is only through my confusion and questioning that I will learn to help others find the answers they seek, and help others make it through their battles.

Nobody likes a smarty-pants. Imagine what your life would be like if you knew all the answers and solutions. You’d be like that guy at parties who finishes your sentences midway. You’d be the know-it-all who plays with his phone, blasé and quietly belligerent.

Rather, people love it when you are just as unknowing and clueless as they are. Then the adventure to find answers and solutions to problems can begin. This is why today’s reading tells us not to despair. The people who despair are the ones who lack the patience to enjoy the journey of growth through engaging with others, failing with others, and teaching others.

Fellow pilgrims on, and students of, life — I’m pretty sure that I have some sense of the confusion you are experiencing in life right now. My circumstances may not be similar, but the incredulity and inquisitiveness about it are probably feelings that are universally experienced.

My wish for you is that you have the strength to continue discovering more of what is out there and deepening your understanding of what it is God is doing in your life. If the pictures from the James Webb telescope are anything to go by, there is so much more out there than meets the eye.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gregory Mathew)

Prayer: Help us O Lord, to more graciously embrace this volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous world that we live in.

Thanksgiving: Thank you for the joy that learning through trial and error brings.

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