“I am blessed and highly favored!”
I have a very close friend who is very friendly and outgoing. She is often the first to say hello to a stranger and greets all who come into her presence with a smile and maybe even a hug. However, she gets easily frustrated by what she calls, “mediocre Christian responses” to her greetings. I have learned to share in this frustration because its source should be obvious. However, it is subtle and hidden.
Here is an example of a mediocre Christian response: When asked, “How are you doing today?” it is common for us to reply, “I am OK” or “hanging in there.” That is a mediocre Christian response. If we are made in the image and likeness of God, then we have to be doing better than “OK.” The Evangelist Matthew tells us that God cares even for the sparrow and therefore, he is deeply concerned for us. (Matthew 10:29). So, we have to be doing better than “Hanging in there.”
My close friend is so deeply bothered by these mediocre Christian responses that she refuses to give any herself. In fact, when asked, “How are you doing?’ she most often says, “Blessed and highly favored!” Even if she is having a bad day, she is blessed and highly favored by God and does not mind saying so.
Last fall during a homily, I challenged members of my parish to avoid mediocre Christian responses. I challenged them to respond to a greeting from each other and even those outside of church with a proclamation of God’s goodness and love. When asked, “How’s it going?” try saying something like, “God loves me, so it’s going great.” I challenged my brothers and sisters to do this because, I had already given this a try and I found, it really works. I tried it at my school. I tried it with my family and neighbors. I even tried it in the grocery store at the check-out counter. Each and every time, my answer was received with a least a smile if not a reciprocal affirmation of faith.
Even at the end of a conversation, rather than saying “good-bye” or “see you later” we said, “God bless!” To date, no one has reported a negative response. No one got offended and no one rejected our good will. In fact, we often get a sincere, heart felt “Thank you” or “God bless you too!”
Brothers and sisters, Christ is everywhere and it is our calling to bring His presence and His grace to the attention of others. I challenge you, just as I challenged my parish, to avoid mediocre Christian responses and to remind yourself and others that you are indeed, “Blessed and highly favored!”
See you later – I mean – God Bless!