One of the blessings of having a lectionary is that we come to learn pretty much the whole of scriptures if we but attend Mass regularly. I can't quote chapter and verse like many of my friends who grew up with memory verses, but I know what the Bible says and, given a decent concordance, I can usually find the verses I'm looking for.
Another blessing is that the pastor can't evade passages with which he is unfamiliar or unhappy. Granted, some pastors can get pretty creative with interpretation, but they can't ignore the existence of the more uncofortable of the scriptural teachings.
And yet a third blessing is that no matter what is going on in the world, there is always something in the appointed reading that can apply to it. There is not this struggle to try to find 'the perfect scripture' to teach on and to learn from. It is right there, often with a specificity that is almost eerie, and always a reminder that God is in charge, ultimately. For example, today's Epistle closes with the phrase, "love is the fulfillment of the law" - a perfect segue into the request that we all show our caring for the survivors and victims of Katrina by opening our heart to them, praying for them, and helping to meet their physical needs as well.
This morning, Father opened his homily with a quote from C.S. Lewis.
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." He then went on to speak about a billboard he had seen on I-10, at the entrance to New Orleans. It is Jesus crucified, with the caption underneath: "It's your move".
It is indeed our move. We need to pray. We need to take physical action. I need to think what penance can I do, and turn the proceeds over to those who more need it. I can give up some of the simple luxuries - the fancy coffee drink, the extra trip in the car, name brand instead of store brand. It may not seem like much. Rather than get discouraged, I will try to remember the story of the starfish. I can't save every starfish, but even if I can only save one, I will have made a world of difference to that one. As Mother Teresa is often quoted, "God doesn't look at how much we do, but with how much love we do it." So let me try to do this with love, as commanded by our Heavenly Father.