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Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

Scripture Readings

As a historian I have been trained to be very careful in making generalizations. Individuals are very particular – living in a very particular time and place -- and so we have to be very careful about using the word “everyone,” as in “everyone is motivated by this” or “everyone has experienced that.” (This is also why historians reject the popular notion that “history repeats itself,” but I will spare you that lecture!)

So I will not presume that everyone has gone through times in their lives in which they felt deeply troubled, so troubled that they felt abandoned and adrift. I will not presume that everyone has been through a “dark night of the soul.”

But I have. I am not thrilled to acknowledge this, but there it is. And I can also say that what – actually, who -- pulled me out of this was God and his unconditional love, the Holy Spirit slowly, gently breaking through the darkness. So it is that – thanks to my wife Sue -- I have on my desk at home an icon of the prodigal son, who is gratefully resting in the arms of the Father, thoroughly enveloped by his love.

All this to say that, when I read in today's gospel reading about the the people to whom Jesus sent his disciples on a mission, I reflexively place myself among those who need the life-giving message and touch of Jesus Christ. I belong with them. And when I read that Jesus’ heart was moved with pity for these adrift and hurting souls (yesterday's gospel), I am there too, grateful for his healing and for his glorious news that God’s Kingdom is here. Grateful for his unconditional love for me, and for all of us.

- Bill Trollinger