Daily Reflection
June 25th, 2007

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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Our family recently vacationed in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee where we enjoyed amazing views of nature’s beauty from our lodgings in the mountains outside of Smoky Mountain National Park. Most days we were able to hike on various trails to breathtaking waterfalls and/or vistas. As we drove to a trailhead to begin the hikes, our daily treks usually took most of an afternoon which in part, were due to the pace of the slowest hiker…me! But my family was patient with me and we had a wonderful time together.

As I pondered today’s first reading, I am utterly amazed at the stamina and faith of Abram and Sarai as they respond to God’s call: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your parent’s house to a land that I will show you.” They not only left all that they knew, but were willing to forge out on a journey (mostly walking) at the age of seventy-five (and they didn’t have a convenient map to mark the trailheads)!!!

What could convince any of us today to leave our comfort zone, all that we know, and move elsewhere? God did promise the land of Canaan to Abram’s descendants, but that was after the trip was well under way. Was this about promises of ownership/possession of new lands, or rather, an openness to trust in God’s presence and call?

I believe that today’s psalmist captures the spirit of Abram and Sarai’s faith and journey: “Our soul waits for you, O God…May your kindness be upon us who have put our hope in you.” (Ps. 33:20 and 22)
How do I/we approach the challenges of our lives? Most of us have made some life choices that have moved us in one direction or another…our career choices, partner in life, having a family, dedication to serving in the Church, optioning for the poor, etc. However, as we live into those choices, we realize that change is the constant dynamic of life. Life is full of change! Sometimes we are surprised by wonderful moments of joy and at other times, we are stopped in our tracks by the struggles, pain, disappointment, illnesses, etc. But, it is then that we are invited by God’s Spirit to open ourselves in trust and confidence to God’s loving embrace. We do NOT have to journey alone. In fact, just as my family accompanied one another on our hikes in the mountains, God is always available to companion us in our treks of life.

But ‘how’ do I open to God presence? At times, I may feel that I’m failing and tempted to blame or judge others for these times. However, in today’s Gospel from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, we are warned against judging others. In utter desperation we often turn to call on God. But, in times of joy, celebration, and happiness, am I able to also turn to God in gratitude for the blessedness of the moment?

Today’s scriptures are a powerful reminder that God is always present…loving, caring, and traveling with us and in us. It is up to us to invite/open ourselves to that embracing relationship of a loving God…so that we will be able to meet whatever changes, challenges, or surprises appear at our trailheads of life’s journeys.

My prayer today is that I invite God to assist me in my awareness of God’s loving embrace and presence in my day to day journey, alone and with others.

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