Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 11th, 2009

Daniel Patrick O'Reilly

Registrar's Office
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Today’s readings seem to be about God’s personal knowledge of and caring for us.  In Genesis, Jacob makes funeral plans for himself.  His son, Joseph, forgives his brothers telling them, “Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good.”  The psalmist says to rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord.  And in Matthew, Jesus says that God knows the number of hairs on your head.

Some people believe God is an all-powerful, bigger-than-life, detached, distant creator who kicked things off, but could care less about us.  It’s not hard to understand why some people feel this way.  When one looks at the universe, history and life in general, it is incredibly humbling.  It is easy to believe that we are meaningless, insignificant, small beings on a tiny spot on a small planet living purposeless lives for a flash in time.  Wow, now that is depressing!

Then along comes Jesus.  God with skin on.  A personal, relational God.  Telling us that God not only knows everything about us, but actually cares about us.  A God that is up close and touching.  Living in our world.  Speaking.  Guiding.  Healing.  Walking with us.  Eating drinking, crying.  A God that is compassionate, caring and loving.  Willing to go to the cross for us.  Why would an all powerful God care how many hairs are on my head?  Why would the creator of the universe sacrifice for me?  This is a stumbling block for some.  They cannot envision an all-powerful God caring about them on a personal basis.  It is a mystery.  Yet this is exactly what Jesus is about.  This is, for me, incredibly good news.

Here at Creighton, I am part of a bereavement ministry.  I had never even heard of such a thing before, when I was asked to be a part of it.  When first asked, I thought, this is so far out of my comfort zone, they may as well be asking me to jump out of a plane.  With a paper parachute!  The notion that I would say something stupid and cause a grieving person more pain was terrifying to me.  And yet, I understood the need and felt a call.  This is a ministry for Creighton employees, run by Creighton employees.  Essentially, we contact someone near the anniversary of the loss of a loved one.   We offer to visit and bring a plant or loaf of bread or card.  If the person declines, I simply tell them I will be praying for them.  If they accept, I meet with them.  Every time I am fearful that I will say the wrong thing.  I pray (really hard) that I can help this person’s grieving heart.  I pray with them and then usually sit and listen.  Sometimes I am the one who cries.  Every time I go in fearful and every time I come away feeling I have been given a gift.  I go hoping to give and come away feeling I have received.  One of those mysteries I don’t understand.  What I do understand is that we don’t wave a magic wand to heal a grieving person.  This cannot happen without the personal touch.  And where do we get our model for this?  From Jesus Christ. 

My prayer today is for all those who are grieving and for those who would like to help them.  May Jesus be our guide and provide strength and courage.

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