This is Us. This show is one of a kind. It deals with a lot of life’s questions. It’s real. There are beautiful moments of togetherness within the family, but it also shows real obstacles to loving and being loved. There are major moments of grace and reconciliation. In a recent episode, Kevin, one of the main characters, soon to be wife was giving birth to twins. Due to work, he was not in town when she went into labor. When he learns that his wife is in labor, he gets in the car and begins the three-hour drive to the airport. It seems like every possible obstacle is placed in his way and he worries he is going to miss his flight. Finally he arrives at the airport, makes it to security only to realize his wallet is missing. He proceeds to beg the TSA agent for her to make an exception. Then he says this which I believe is quite beautiful. “Listen, my father was always there for me. I am about to become a father. I need to be there for my children. I need to be there.” Ever since this episode I have been praying and thinking a lot about what it means to be there…
Friends today was a difficult day. Our parish celebrated a funeral for a man that had made a difference in so many lives. And he also made a difference in mind. When I was assigned to this parish, my mom told me immediately that this was “Mr. Remenap’s parish.” He was my chemistry teacher in high school. I was excited to see him again. I was excited to be at his parish. And I was excited to re-ignite that friendship. A month ago, he gave me a great gift. He said, “Father, we are so happy to have you here. I love you buddy.” Those are the last words he said to me. I am telling you this because this funeral was difficult. And it took a lot out of me emotionally. Mr. Remenap’s brother yesterday said to me, “Father who is there for you right now.” And I said, well right now, my Mom. Then this morning he sent me a text, “Father I know this will be tough for you, but we are praying for you. You got this.” It was so meaningful. In his greatest trial in life, he wanted to be there for someone else. God was there through my Mom who came in support. God was there in the staff at St. Pius who knew this was difficult and offered comforting words and prayers. God was there through a brother priest who celebrated mass for me Saturday morning. God was there through so many – and I truly felt that.
This morning as I was reflecting on what I would say this weekend for Good Shepherd Sunday. I initially was anxious. I spent so much time praying for Mr. Remenap and the words that God wanted me to share this weekend. And God was like, “Hey man, don’t over complicate it. Just let people know that I am there.”
Were you there Lord? God wants us to know that as the Good Shepherd he is always there. God is there to guide us. God is there to look for us and bring us home when we are lost. And God is there to help us when we are facing any trial in our lives, no matter how big or small they are. God is there.
In Christ’s love and friendship,