Not one to mince words, my brother said flatly over the phone, "Look, he was just . . . not the right guy for you."
One by one my siblings had come forward in the aftermath of a disastrous breakup. The kind where you crumple and wait for the ceiling to lay the final blow on your smooshed heart. They came forward out of love, conveying a series of excoriating messages: he wasn't the one for you; it's a good thing you took a break because look at how he reacted, reinforcing the fact he's not your future husband; you did the right thing, no matter how hard it felt; there will be other love out there.
If I could have, I would have proven them all wrong. My heart sat in that in betweensie place maybe many of you who have loved and then paused have sat. It was a rotten summer, and I hated their rotten reassurances.
I was reminded of all this when I read today's Gospel. Our Lord sets up a triple combination there in the last line. Messenger --> Jesus --> God the Father.
Whoever receives the one I send, receives me, and whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me.
How often have you thought, "Oh, this part of Scripture doesn't apply to me." Or perhaps, "This Church teaching is out of date and I'm not obligated to follow it." Maybe none of you are raising your hands. Maybe it's only me.
Who are Jesus' messengers? His Apostles, His disciple, Peter, the rock upon which He built His Church. Our Holy Father today, our cardinals, our bishops, our priests. Me? You?
I'm not saying that my family was acting "in persona Christi" here. But I am saying truth comes to us through God's beautiful use of messengers. The Church's wisdom on social teachings, the Scripture's teachings on how to treat others, our family's gentle (or not) suggestions on our love life, our pastor's sermon about birth control that we are struggling to live out in our relationship.
When we receive Jesus' messengers, we're receiving Him and God the Father. Let's be more open to hearing the message.
Are there messengers that are trying to bring God's love and teachings more immediately into your life that you'd rather ignore or dismiss?
Nell O'Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to four lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.