Grant us peace in our day (19th Week in Ordinary Time, August 10, 2014)

Seems like everywhere one looks these days, there’s storms! Washington D.C. is filled with stormy rancor heck, most of the country is, for that matter. The three branches of the Federal government are pretty much dysfunctional. On the issue of immigration and monetary policy, neither side wants to give the other political points. In a cynical moment, I found myself wondering what kind of an outcry there would be if 20,000 puppies were being mistreated at the US-Mexico border, or if children were streaming across the US-Canada border.

We have the growing numbers of workers who can’t make ends meet on their wages. Poverty and hunger are on the increase. The number of poor people is near the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty statistics have been published, and in 2012 (the most recent set of complete statistics) 20.4 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four.

The stress that all this is causing plain ordinary folks has to be incredible. People crack under that pressure. And that’s why I think the multitude of states that permit open carrying of firearms are asking for trouble.

Syria, the Ukraine, Israel and Hamas, the sectarian warfare in Iraq and the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, civil wars in Africa, internal changes in Russia and China, water shortages around the world, changes in climate Ay-yi-yi! Beam me up, Scotty!!

Pope Francis is actually a breath of hope and fresh air in our world. Yet the “Francis effect” is slow to filter down because people say: “Stop messing with my little safe and secure little world.” America’s bishops are still preoccupied with pelvic issues, but they have made some wonderful statements recently about the world’s climate and immigration.

All this is why I take great comfort from Sunday’s Gospel of Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm. That’s why my most deeply fervent prayer during Mass comes after the Our Father when we pray: “Grant us peace in our day.” Note that Jesus was actually in the storm; he was not observing the storm from the safety of the boat. Somehow, someway, you and I just have to believe that God is in control. If we don’t have that belief, then what else is there?

Pray for peace!!

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