Headaches, heartaches, and glory!

There has been a lot of headaches in the past few weeks. Can we go to the State Basketball tournament? Is there going to be a tournament? Are we going to have track practice? Are we going to have school? How do I move to an online classroom? What if I don’t have access at home?

A tornado of troubles. Enough to make your head spin. Sharp questions that pierce the mind.

There have been a lot of heartaches in the past few weeks. What about the senior retreat, prom, auction, raffle, open forum, activities banquet, graduation?  What about Mass, Confessions, Anointing of the Sick, Confirmations? Am I going to get to hug my grandchildren again?

A tempest of questions, doubts, and fears. Deep questions, with deep cuts: right to the heart.

When will this be over? The readings in Lent couldn’t be more perfect in God’s providence.

“Lord, do you not care that we are perishing?”

“Jesus wept.”

“They placed a crown of thorns on his head.”

“They pierced his heart with a lance.”

All of us have been suffering the effects of this in one shape or form.  Suffering is an evil – the privation of a good – we have been suffering the loss of many things; things we hold dear, and things we thought we could count on.

But in the midst of all of this I hope you realize that you have not suffered the loss of God’s love. In fact, for some it may be the only thing we have left – which is the cause of our joy.

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”

The last Mass I celebrated with a group of more than 10, was with the boys’ basketball team just a couple hours before they would step out onto the court for the championship game. In the basement of a house, we turned to Our Lord and reflected on the story of the Prodigal Son, who was restored to the dignity of who he really was. The father in the story:

“Put a robe on him” – a Sacred Heart jersey

“sandals on his feet,” – basketball shoes

“and a ring on his finger” – the seal of the family, who they were playing for

We prayed for the grace to be the sons that our families needed us to be that day. We prayed to understand that the game we were going to play meant more to the community of Falls City and Sacred Heart School than we realized. We prayed that all of the hard work they had put in was not in vain, nor for vainglory, but that any excellence or achievement might be for God’s glory and our salvation. We prayed for the humility to offer it all back to the Father, through His Son, in the power of the spirit.

We prayed not for victory – but through Him, and with Him, and in Him – we prayed for His Victory.

And so, walking out of that gym, Jake Hoy with the trophy hoisted high, I couldn’t help but feel that this, too, was just a foreshadowing of the glory to come.

Which is why we’ve been given a great gift in our faith: To believe in the Father’s love; To know we are sons and daughters of God; To unite our sufferings to Christ in this time of trial and pain; To not lose hope, but believe that everything we are working toward will not be in vain if united to Him; To not put so much into the things that pass away, but to see the value of things that eternally endure.

We practice our free-throws to be ready for when they count. We practice our faith to be ready when crosses come. You were made for this moment, you were made to reveal the victory of Christ.

“The world needs you, because it needs Christ, and you belong to Him!”

Jesus has already endured all of this for love of you, the headaches and the heartaches, so that you might not lose strength or hope, but that you might unite your heart to His and experience His Glory!

“Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!”