faith of family / call home - Lenten reflection from the deacon (my uncle)

I remember each of the days my son and daughter left home to go to college. My wife and I helped them pack their stuff, drove them to their dormitory, helped them unpack and get moved in. Then came the really hard part - saying good-bye. As I left them to drive home I remember the tears I had in my eyes. They were tears of sadness because life was changing dramatically for them and for us.

Our relationship with each other was now forever changed. We wouldn't see them every day anymore. We wouldn't have the opportunity to teach them like we'd had. We wouldn't know as much about their daily activities. We wouldn't be able to hug them each day and tell them we loved them. I questioned whether I had been a good enough father to get them through the rest of their lives. I wondered whether they had learned enough from me and if they would remember what they had learned - if it had been writen on their hearts. I wondered whether they had accepted it and would live it and one day come home to God because of it.

I think I felt like God feels towards us, as God lets us go forth in this world of ours. Perhaps this is what God felt in the making of a new covenant with us in our first reading today. "This is the new covenant I will make with the house of Israel....I place my law within them and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people." God lets us grow in our world, guiding us by the love and the law that has been engraved on each of our hearts. Like me, God wants us to accept it and live it and one day....come home.

Among my greatest blessings are the phone calls we receive from our children - asking our advice, telling us they miss us, sharing their lives and feelings with us, leting us know they love us. We love it when they Call Home. It's the way those questions of mine are answered.

Don't we bless God when we pray the same way - asking for advice, sharing our life and feelings and, most of all, making known our love and our thanks for being loved so deeply? Isn't this season of Lent a great time to start or re-start or renew that kind of relationship - that kind of prayer - with our loving Parent? As I grow older, I see more clearly that the relationship between me and my children and grandchildren is very much like God's relationship with me. So wouldn't God love it as much as us when we CALL HOME?

- Deacon Dale