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Focus on the Good, and You Will Always Feel Blessed

Did you ever have one of those days when you go to the car and find the tank on empty? Or tie your shoe one minute before Mass, but you break the lace, and you have no spare? Or have the Bishop at the door waiting for a document copy, and there is a paper jam in the copier? Or the vacuum cleaner does not work because the bag is full and it is the last one? I went on a run the other day, and there were a couple of love birds holding hands, blocking the entire sidewalk. So I ran around them and tripped on the curb. I landed on my chin. For a moment, I saw stars. Someone asked if I was okay. I told them I was fine, even though I was in some pain. I was actually happy because I did not sprain my ankle or hurt my knee. I focused on the positive.

A few years ago, my flight was delayed. After three hours of waiting, the flight was canceled.  I went to an agent to rebook my flight, and she informed me that she could not get me back to Boston until the next night. I explained to her that I was a priest and I had two weddings to officiate in the afternoon. She said to me, “In that case, I will make you a VIP and get you to Boston in the morning.” So she handed me two boarding passes. I arrived in Atlanta, and I walked toward my connecting flight when I noticed that my second boarding pass did not have a seat number. So I went to the agent. She told me that the reason I did not have a seat number is because the flight was full. She would call me if there were an available seat. She replied, “If.” After twenty minutes of nervous waiting, she called me, and I arrived in Boston. One of the priests asked me how the flight was. I replied, “It was the most horrible. They canceled my flight, and I almost did not make it back for the weddings.”  No, I did not say that. This is what I told him, “You will never guess what happened to me. The airline made a VIP. Against all the odds, they got me back in time for the weddings.”  

Paul tells the Philippians, in his letter, that he understands that they are going through many hardships but to focus on what is good, true, and beautiful. Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan. In it there was a story of a man who fell victim to robbers. Suppose you asked this man, “How was your day?” He could answer, “I had a horrible day. Robbers beat me up and left me to die after they stripped me of all my clothes.” Or he could say, “I had a great day; a stranger saved his life and was now financing my recovery.” 

            In the very next story, after the man who fell victim to robbers, Jesus visits Martha. Martha is in her little world with all her problems. She has to cook and has no one to help her. I want to say to her, “Martha, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the co-creator of the world, the Alfa, and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Savior of the world, The one who dominates over the universe, is in your living room about to have dinner with you. It is not as bad as you think it is.”

It is true that things break, we encounter disappointments, and we can live all the time as if we are cursed. Yet, Paul offers us a second option. We can look to the good, the true, and the benevolent, and live all the time as if we are blessed. 

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