We start the week with Palm Sunday and end it with Easter about to burst forth. Christian communities around the world will be concluding Lent and celebrating the Risen Christ. Jews will be celebrating Passover. Ukrainians will be clinging to life, many in a new country where they take refuge.
Jesus greeted people famously with “Peace be with you.” It is still mostly a hope of something to come rather than an extension of the status quo. I have been thinking about where I was a few weeks ago when Lent started and where I had hoped to be by now. As usual I am falling short. I will not worry about that, the journey is more important than the destination (well at least if the destination is still on this earth…).
There is still time to reflect on the season, life and death, even death on a cross. Life for refugees and homeless as well as our own lives and how much time we have left. It is always better when we can do this with another, one we love.
When I was training our stafff in our Vincentian Values and Leadership Course in London, I asked them how long they expected to live and then provided them with life expectancy tables for several countries. I told them to write it down. The next question was “How long to you expect to be dead?” “Write it down.” “What is your favorite day of the week?” “Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?”
I had them calculate how many favorite days of the week they had left. Do the math for yourself. Then buy marbles, put one for each favorite day of the week left into a vase. Then when you start your day or end it—your preference—stitting with a coffee or glass of wine, take out a marble and throw it away. Savor your day and your blessings. Peace be with you.
Fr. J. Patrick Murphy, C.M., Ph.D., is Emeritus Professor of Public Service at DePaul University and Values Director for Depaul International, an organization that serves homeless people in seven countries.