What, it’s right in front of me!


Our lives are filled with so many things, we may be employed or students, may be married or single, be caring for children or elderly parents. Whatever it is that fills our days, weeks, and years, it keeps us busy, sometimes too busy to notice what is right in front of us. We often ask for assistance with our daily grind, we look for ways to lessen our burdens, and we ask for the patience and courage to persevere. Yet so many of us would be lost without our routines and that sense of being needed by someone, but still we complain. 

In this week’s Gospel we see that Jesus has returned home. He is addressing the people gathered at the synagogue. Yet these people are not ready to accept that the little boy they knew, now all grown up, can possibly be the Messiah that they have been waiting and praying for. They are blinded to what is right in front of them, they cannot see past the child they watched playing with their children or the possibility the He was the answer. This unfortunately, is the same for us today, we often miss what is right in front of us. When we ask for assistance and a small child is heard saying, “Mommy, can I help you?” Rather than giving them a small task, we send them away with a rebuke. 

When you want to rid yourself of the load you are carrying, and someone reaches out to you asking for help with theirs, you simply turn your back and tell them how much you already have on your plate. When we are seeking patience and courage, but all you see in front of you is the mound of laundry, household chores, or projects you need to get to, you feel harried and devoid of strength. It leaves many of us wondering if we are even heard, why are our prayers and pleas going unanswered, is God even listening? 

Like the people in the Gospel, we too are looking for answers, we are looking for a respite from our daily toil, the demands on our time, and the burdens life dumps on us. We are asking God to helps us, heal us, and to change our lives. Yet in the asking we often do not recognize that the responses are right in front of us, in the small and grand gestures. That small child may not be able to truly help with whatever you have to get done, but what joy it brings them to be able to say, “I helped mommy today!” when their father walks through that door. It reminds me of an old adage, “The work of a child may be puny, but who misses out on it is loony.” That smile and gratitude is more assistance that we could ever dream of receiving. 

When that friend wants to dump more on you, and you say “Yes, I will give you a hand,” and you realize that they are now giving you a hand with your load — you feel a sense of relief. When the chores are piling up, and you find yourself running out of patience or do not believe you have the strength to take another step, you find yourself folding laundry and contemplating what it all means — a home, a roof over your head, and warm, clean clothing to wear — you suddenly realize that you have been granted patience and the strength to face another day, and you have so much to be grateful for. 

When we fail to recognize God’s answers in the mundane aspects of our daily lives, we fail to see His presence. We are too wrapped up in what we believe and feel assured of, that we do not see the truth or what is standing right before us. Let us look at Jesus in the Gospel, the people were too quick to judge Him and to write Him off. They could only see what they had known and were not willing to see what was in front of them. This is true of us as well, we may not see the potential in a young child, we may not recognize the needy neighbor who is willing to lend a hand, or the gifts in our daily chores and routines, but they are there if we are willing to adjust our limited vision. 

The greatest challenge for us is to see the importance in the familiar, to recognize the potential in others, and to be willing to see God’s presence in every aspect of our lives. You can ask yourself, how well do I truly know Jesus? How can I see beyond my perception of Him? What can I do to truly get to know Jesus better? You may find the answers to these and similar questions right in front of you. It may be the song in a child’s laughter, it may be the smile of gratitude on a neighbor’s face, or seeing Christ on the faces of strangers you encounter. To truly know Jesus, we must adjust our vision, and allow ourselves to see through the eyes of faith. 

Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva is a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Fall River and works for the diocesan Office of Faith Formation. 

Email her at rsaraiva@dfrcs.com

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