by Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate
"Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me."
These words of Jesus are part of the readings from the gospel of Mark for today (February 21) as I write this. As someone who has spent my entire adult life working in the early childhood profession, they hold much meaning for me. I believe that God has called me in a special way to welcome children in His name.
The images from our Sunday liturgy also evoke powerful emotions. In the first reading from Isaiah, we hear, “Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” As the mother of four children (two by birth, two by adoption), I know the power of a mother’s love. How much more deeply does God love each of us? Far more than we can possibly fathom.
In the gospel, Jesus talks about the birds of the air and the flowers of the fields and reminds us that his heavenly Father cares for them and will likewise care for us. I am a “birder” and gardener, so again these images touch me deeply. I find that I feel closer to God in nature than I do almost anywhere else. As I tend my flowers I often remind myself that I am working hand in hand with God to create beauty in the world.
This is what we are all called to do, to be the hand of God in our world. Everyone isn't destined to work with children. Perhaps you are not a gardener. Maybe your yard isn’t a wildlife habitat. However, you ARE challenged to find your own way to use your God-given talents to make our world a better place and bring others closer to the God who created us all. He only created one YOU! And only you can fulfill the unique purpose for which you were created.
This week, spend some time reflecting on YOUR call from God to use His gifts to you in the special way for which you were created.