One scene in the movie Moonstruck has always struck me more powerfully than any other. An Italian wife knows that her husband is cheating on her. Tired of sitting alone at home in the evening, she decides to go to a neighborhood restaurant. There she meets a gentleman who is also eating alone. He asks if he could sit with her. She accepts him and welcomes him to her table. He walks her home after dinner. When they reach her door, he is surprised that she doesn’t invite him in and asks if she might do so. She says “No.” When he wants to know why, she tells him, “I know who I am.” As a married woman, she has no intention of entertaining another man in her home while her husband is away.
The readings for today ask us to consider who we are. We shall say no more, ‘Our god,’ to the work of our hands; for in you the orphan finds compassion.” The prophet Hosea reminds the children of Israel who they are – God’s chosen people. They belong to no other god.
The Gospel reminds us of the two great commandments. Love God; love your neighbor. This is who we are as a people who live under God’s law. We love God with our whole being, and we love our neighbor as ourselves.
Throughout human history people have forgotten who they are as God’s people. They turn to other “gods.” Usually we don’t worship Baal or some idol. Rather we make our wealth, our social status, our job, or even ourselves the priority in our lives. We forget that we are God’s people, baptized into the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
We are drawing close to the final weeks of Lent. Although for many of us, this Lent will probably not include the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection as we shelter in place and maintain social distance from one another. However, we can remember who we are as God’s beloved creatures. Perhaps we can find ways to enhance our closeness to God as we struggle to keep our distance from one another as we combat the virus that has endangered the lives of the weak and the elderly.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator