Feast of St.James, Apostle


2 Corinthians 4:7-15
Matthew 20:20-28


After 60 years now in Religious Life, I don’t remember much of what my formators and spiritual directors said as I began my journey as a Passionist, but there is one thing I do remember our formator saying.  That was: “If you can’t change the situation, change your attitude”. He said it with a certain degree of sarcasm to us, at times, disgruntled teenagers -the equivalent of “Suck it up, Princess!”  But nonetheless, it is true and wise — so much in life we can’t change, but how we see things, what we believe, can make all the difference.

As Paul says, we are earthenware jars, cracked, chipped, leaky, worn and torn, carrying scars.  We have to live with it; we can’t change it – but rather than resentment, self-pity or cynicism, what a difference it makes if, like Paul in the first reading, I can see what is happening as mirroring, sharing in, participating in the dying and rising of Jesus. To see not just me but Jesus with me.  Another of my favourite-est quotes from St Paul, which I was given on a holy card as a teenager also, is ”I live now, not I, but Christ lives in me”.

When I am feeling most hard done by, most earthenware-ish, most prone to ‘why me’, I remember – I can’t change the situation, but I can change my attitude – I can ‘hand it over’ and let Jesus do the living in me that at the moment may feel beyond me.

Fr Tom McDonough CP the Parish Priest of St.Brigid’s parish Marrickville.