A few weeks ago I was asked to do a graveside south of Monroe. It was a beautiful drive on a beautiful day, through the trees and fields, and when I got to the cemetery the people were driving up and gathering around the grave, old farmers in their Sunday best and their children and their grandchildren. The man we were burying had died at 90 after a life of farming beans and corn and table beets. He was born on the farm he worked, and he worked it until he was in his eighties, when he could no longer walk through the fields, and as we waited everyone talked of his kindness and his gentleness. He worked hard, he was always working, but he was never too busy to stop and help someone else. Several people said this to me.
“Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies,” I read from the Gospel of John, “it remains just a seed, but if it dies it produces much fruit,” and this kind and hardworking man was the seed, and now he had gone into the earth, and now he was rising again into Christ, forever.
And the sun was shining, and the old people were gathered with their frank and weathered faces, and the young people, and the babies, and nothing else mattered, everything else fell away, and we were all together, and we were all rising, and we were all for moment really there, in that place, in that air, which is where Christ always is, where his endless grace is always pouring down on us, always pouring down.
If we listen to the Spirit, we will be not be concerned with conservatives and progressives, traditionalists and innovators, right and left. When those become our criteria, then the Church has forgotten the Spirit.
Let us live in the present!
The Spirit affirms the primacy of today against the temptation to let ourselves be paralyzed by rancor or memories of the past, or by uncertainty or fear about the future. The Spirit reminds us of the grace of the present moment. There is no better time for us: now, here and now, is the one and only time to do good, to make our life a gift.
Pope Francis, Pentecost, 5/16/2021