“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Cor. 5:7

My dear family in Christ:

If we paid careful attention to St. Paul’s words today, we gain insight into an important part of our life of faith, we can’t always get what we want. St. Paul expresses his desire to leave this life in order to share eternal life with God, but he acknowledges that this was not to be his call at this point in his life. He accepted the fact that the Lord was calling him to remain faithful to his apostolic ministry in this world and not to allow his desire for eternal life to distract him from attending to the daily demands of discipleship.

How often in our lives do we find ourselves wishing we could be doing something other than what we are being asked to address? This time of year, it is especially easy to allow our desires to be outside enjoying the beauty of Vermont at the lake, in the mountains, or on the golf course, to distract us from the tasks at hand in our homes, with our families, or at our jobs. As much as it would be great for us to be able just to drop everything whenever we felt like it, we know that this would be a recipe for disaster professionally and personally. Sometimes we must attend to the demands of our daily personal, professional, and vocational lives and set what we would like to be doing aside.

How best to handle the temptations to set aside our responsibilities in order to do what we would like to be doing? St. Paul offers some advice worth following, “we aspire to please Him (God) whether we are at home or away.” Meaning, we need to seek God’s will for us in all things and at all times. We have to daily seek the Lord’s grace to stay focused on those responsibilities we must fulfill day in and day out. When we do that, then our moments of recreation, vacation and just plain relaxing are more enjoyable because they become moments of true sabbath rest.

So as summer plans are being developed or executed, let’s remember that we can’t set aside those responsibilities we have as professionals and parents, or those duties we have as followers of Christ, praying daily, attending Mass every weekend, serving the less fortunate. Why do these things even if we’d rather be doing something else? St. Paul again reminds, us “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Cor. 5:10

Peace,

+ John J. McDermott

Bishop-elect of Burlington