Daily Reflection
June 3rd, 2003
Roc O'Connor, S.J.
Theology Department and Campus Ministry
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Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11

O.K., it's one of those days and today I get to be a curmudgeon.

I have learned over these many years in the Society of Jesus that it is somewhat easier to leave people, a place, or a ministry than to be left behind myself.  Maybe it's a lot easier in some ways.  Besides grieving the loss of the people and place where I had been living, I have also found a good deal of excitement that comes from looking ahead to new people, challenges, and life. 

Moving on allows folks to "create memories."  We do that as we prepare to move; we do that as we enter the new situation.  At least that's what we do, to hear my students speak about the waning weeks of their senior year.  "I'm creating memories for myself," more than one of them said.  "I'm touring through Europe to create memories."  Things like that.

Pardon me for actually playing the curmudgeon, but when I hear them speak this way, when I hear others speak this way about living, I wonder to myself, "Have we become generations of tourists in life?" Do we go through life collecting memories like stamps or like those little spoons that name interesting places?  It seems as if by having these things we are the richer for them.

Seems to me that St. Paul doesn't seem to act as a tourist in life.  Instead he lives his life from day to day in faith and hope in Christ - no matter what comes his way.  Instead of collecting memories as "things," he lives his life according to the story of Christ's death and resurrection.  As we hear, that all involves hardships and loss.

His life revolves around a person - the person of Jesus Christ - not around himself and his attempts to fill his emptiness.  Now, don't get me wrong, this is not as easy as it all sounds.  But, as we all head into the summer of 2003, maybe Paul's words can call us back from the brink of tourism to Christian living.  Hear him again:

"But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem.
What will happen to me there I do not know,
except that in one city after another
the Holy Spirit has been warning me
that imprisonment and hardships await me.
Yet I consider life of no importance to me,
if only I may finish my course
and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus,
to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace.

But now I know that none of you
to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels
will ever see my face again."

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