My Dear Friends,

Recently, I was leaving the hospital after visiting with a parishioner. On my way to the car, I passed a number of individuals and said hello to all of them. We shared eye contact and I knew that they had heard me. For whatever reason, they chose not to say hello. As I approached my car, I began to wonder where we are headed as a society. It is hard for many people to extend even a simple “hello” and “how are you?” We call ourselves the most civilized nation in the world, and yet, one can ask the question: Are we?

When we see how we treat one another it is very frightening at times. Individuals who will cut you off in traffic and not give it a second thought; people who insist that they must have the right of way when you come to a four-way stop.

Remember the days when we gave up our seat for a woman or an elderly person? Remember the days when we took off our hat when entering a building? Remember the days when we held the door for others? When Jesus walked the earth, He taught us to “…love one another as I have loved you.” In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of this love. It is my belief that this love is extended to others in simple and profound ways. Do I say thank you? Am I grateful for the many blessings I have received by thanking God, and thanking those who
are kind to me? When I am invited to a party or gathering, do I thank the people who invited me and accept the invitation, or send a note or call to decline if I am not able to attend; but nonetheless, to thank them?

Love and gratitude must be the foundation of our lives. Without them, we cannot be all that God has intended us to be. That is what we celebrate in the Eucharist: Eucharist means “giving thanks.” We give thanks to God for the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. In these summer days of rest and relaxation, may we reflect upon who we are and what we are called to be, and ask God to assist us by filling our hearts with gratitude.

Father Patrick V. Kirsch, KHS