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The world is understaffed

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Msgr. Gregory E.S. Malovetz - published on 02/21/24

In Lent, we're called to be one of the staff who shows up. Because Jesus did.

From my hotel room window, I see it: the sun rising on what would be a beautiful Saturday. I was in Philadelphia on Memorial Day weekend to officiate at my niece’s wedding. The window beckoned me to go outside. I got a coffee to go and started walking around the neighborhood. There were shops and restaurants, all now closed. Crossing a street, I saw it: the large window of a restaurant. In the morning light it looked interesting inside. But it was the printing on the window that got my attention. In beautiful script someone wrote: the world is understaffed. Be kind to those who showed up. It was a reminder of professions with no choice to work remotely. And how those who show up are often treated unkindly. Those who show up. Deeply moved by that message, I took a picture to remember it. 

Lent is a window that guides and challenges our faith. Looking in, we see Jesus who comes as the servant washing feet, directing waiters facing wedding catastrophes, and breaking bread with those despised by others. The cross is imprinted on every moment of Jesus’ life. A cross that values every person. 

The readings during Lent reveal a Jesus who shows up wherever compassion, forgiveness, and kindness are lacking in the world. We find comfort and hope looking through Lent’s window. And a calling. 

Lent’s window calls us to look out to the world around us. There are beautiful moments that beckon us. There are also dark and difficult moments tempting us to look away. During Lent, those preparing for initiation at the Easter Vigil receive their final preparation. They come to understand in a deeper way, the meaning of their initiation. They are soon to be counted among those who show up in a world that is understaffed. Understaffed with those willing to do the hard work of serving others in difficult circumstances. The hard work of using their voices for those who have no voice to speak for them. The hard work of witnessing to things more important than the latest TikTok trend. Showing up in every circumstance as a follower of Christ. 

No matter where we are on the spiritual journey, Lent calls us to that same challenge. Have we been showing up in a world needing compassion and hope? We cannot show up in Sudan, Ukraine, or communities facing famine or gun violence. But we can show up to our own lives. It’s the cashier at the store, the server in a restaurant, the driver trying to make a left turn in heavy traffic. Often, it’s the simple moments offering the greater challenge of living our faith. 

In the right light, a window can also reveal our reflection. During Lent we see our need for repentance. Seeing our reflection is another realization: Ours is one of many faces throughout the world waiting for an experience of kindness. Longing for an experience of Jesus. To see this is to understand what it means to be counted among those who show up.

Tags:
CharityJesus ChristLent
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