Paulist Seminarian Tom Gibbons, CSP, who is one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet offers this reflection on his blog, Kicking and Screaming on St. Jude whose patronage we celebrate today:
I have friends who are social workers, and one of the constant struggles I hear from them is that while the work they do is SO important, many of them wonder if they are making any sort of dent in the world. Many scientists have spent their lives looking for cures to some diseases with only limited success, if any. Martin Luther King did not live to see the dream he described at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial fulfilled, a dream of racial reconciliation we are still working out to this day. The list of lost causes goes on.
Which leaves the question… what makes these people continue? Because if we think about it, we all have had—or currently have—times in our lives when we’ve been faced with lost causes. They might involve some of the issues we just talked about or even just problems in our personal lives that never seem to get better.
Sometimes we all feel like we are lost causes or that things are beyond hope. Who do we turn to then? We often turn to God and Jude is also invoked in desperate situations because his New Testament letter stresses that the faithful should persevere in difficult circumstances.
I think Jude awakens us to the fact that we need God and one another always, even when situations are far from desperate. We need to be engaged with each other’s concerns so that situations do not ever get desperate. But when they do it is not necessarily hopeless. St Jude provides us with that hope, not a hope in some magical cure or amazing miracle–though those things sometimes happen–but we have the sure and certain hope that God is always going to redeem all that is wrong. It is that sure and certain hope that we cling to–that we have assurance that even in the worst times, we believe that God can make all of it better–even if we don’t see the results of that in the here and now. Somehow, God can hold all of that desperation for us and removes our pain and stress in times of need.
So today we pray in thanksgiving for St Jude but we also pray for the two great baseball teams who start the World Series: The Yankees and the Phillies. Say a prayer for the team you want to win–not for that victory (although we know you can’t help doing that) but that they might perform up to their God-given talents. And enjoy the game!