St. Matthew Church | Glendale Heights, Illinois

How to be Human

One of the most amazing things to see on the farm was the birth of a new calf. This strange creature would suddenly appear one day all slimy and awkward, lying down right next to mom. But give it an hour or so, cleaned off by the licks of mama cow and nudged gently with her nose—well then, the little guy was up and running around and happy to do so. Then he’d instinctively find his way back for his first meal, generously provided by mom.

Humans are so different, so fragile. We depend completely on the love of those around us for our survival. Parents can’t just give life to their children—they have to nurture it. And the most important thing we need to be fed with is love. So it’s not enough simply to be born human; we have to grow and develop physically and humanly. This can be difficult, since you can’t give what you don’t have. If mama cow does not give her milk, the baby calf will die. If we do not give love in our families, inside we will grow weak and feel dead, too. All our parental lectures to our children to ‘be nice’ will be useless if we do not at least try to love first and to love best in our families. And if instead of being kind we are cruel, that is what they will learn—and probably because we learned it in our families when we were growing up.

Now don’t get discouraged at hearing about the worst that could happen. Because the good news is that we can always start fresh. I can be kind today. I can do this throughout the day and if I practice those acts of kindness all day long, then at the end of that day I will be a kinder person. The kindness of that day will be a treasure you carry into the next day, a gift you share with those around you. And kindness is one of those beautiful gifts that the more you give it away, the more you have of it. By being kinder each day, you and your whole family will grow in kindness.

On top of that good news for your family is the great news of our family of God. You don’t have to do this alone. Christ is here to help you. He can actually forgive you for all your past acts of unkindness, of cruelty. He will strengthen you to be kind even when it’s difficult and he will teach you to be kind even in the face of unkindness by others. We are usually most deeply hurt by those who should be closest to us. So when we are hurt there is a heroic call to offer forgiveness, because Christ has forgiven us so much. And the more we ask forgiveness, the more those around us will see it and imitate it, too. There is something powerful going on in that simple lesson we learned as children to ‘say you are sorry.’ It was a lesson teaching us to be human, correcting the times we have been inhuman to one another. This powerful lesson is a lesson you can’t trust to a public school or even our fine parish school. This lesson has to be taught in the school of the family, in the classroom of the human heart. Thankfully, the human and divine Heart of our Lord Jesus Christ is a school that is always open, always waiting to teach us these lessons. It’s true, the more we draw close to Christ who is perfectly human, the more human we become. School may be out for the summer, but the Sacred Heart of Jesus is always open to you and to me each day. I think I will offer some more lessons in the weeks ahead on how to be human, by learning from the Heart of Christ.

May we live each day in the Heart of Christ, as his brothers and sisters, as his family, as his parish.

Fr. Jerome

PS: As pastor, I have made some recent maintenance decisions after in-depth discussion with our finance council. As you know, St. Matthew is a large campus and in my judgment proper care of our campus is a full-time job. I am grateful to Ron Metty who has served faithfully and generously here as a part-time employee keeping our campus in shape. Unfortunately, our annual budget cannot accommodate two salaries. So I have discontinued the part-time position and hired a full-time staff person. As Ron ends his employment here, let’s all thank him for his work. This week we welcome Alan Andersen as our new Facilities/Maintenance Manager. If you see any maintenance issues here at St. Matthew, please let Alan know about them and he will be happy to address them.