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Where is Home?

February 23, 2021   Tuesday of the First Week of Lent (Lectionary: 225)

Reading I   Is 55:10-11
Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
And do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
Giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
So shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
It shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Responsorial Psalm   34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
R. (18b) From all their distress God rescues the just.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
The LORD has eyes for the just,
and ears for their cry.
The LORD confronts the evildoers,
to destroy remembrance of them from the earth.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
When the just cry out, the LORD hears them,
and from all their distress he rescues them.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
R. From all their distress God rescues the just.

Verse before the Gospel   Mt 4:4b
One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

Gospel   Mt 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

By Michael Cabrera 

Cooking for myself and hopelessly trying to avoid buying unnecessary groceries, doing laundry and cleaning the apartment, leaving home for the first (and second) time: college inevitably brings new adulthood experiences that my mind -- and heart -- are left to grapple with. Some of these new things are a little more lighthearted (like cooking) and some a little less so (leaving home). 

While this is not my first time with the “leaving home” milestone, the onset of COVID brought a sort of reversal that granted me the blessing of moving back in with my family for ten months. And in those ten months, I seemed to have lost the independence I was so proud of when I first left home for college. I grew in love for the home I have had for most of my life. 

So as I prepared to move back to college again, with my independence stunted due to COVID, my heart wrestled with both the heavy thought of really leaving home and the excitement I felt for regaining independence.  It may seem melodramatic to dwell on this homesickness when in reality, I am still very young and far from “true” adulthood.

But this scary thought of leaving home revealed to me just how much my heart desires to be at home. 

Right now, home means my little bedroom in my parent’s house nestled in the suburbs of Southern California. Home means 10 am Sunday Mass at St. Cecilia’s and getting bánh mì sandwiches for lunch afterward. Home means walking into the living room to witness my brother watching yet another episode of the television series that momentarily captures his attention. Home is sitting on the edge of my parent’s bed as we say our nightly prayers, just as we have done for as long as I can remember. 

My conception of home is so human; my conception of home is so small.

As I prayed with the idea of leaving home, He revealed to me that my desire for home is really just a reflection of my existential longing for Home with Him. And while as Christians, it is natural for us to look on the horizon for our home in Heaven, I too often forget that home -- that Christ -- is so incredibly present here. In the Gospel today, He reminds me of this clearly in the familiar words: on earth as it is in Heaven

Yes, home is the presence of my family. But home is also that feeling of awe when I see a sunset on my daily walk. Home is laughing so hard at the same, dumb, funny video shown to me by a friend. Home is communion with my Maker, which I encounter most fully on this earth in the Eucharist. 

It’s somewhat comforting to know that I will never truly leave home since He is present in every single moment of my life.

I think it’s so beautiful that my very human homesickness is but a mere symptom of my deep desire for Him.  And if my small, earthly understanding of home already brings me so much joy, how much more when I encounter Him fully?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Michael Cabrera is a current student at UC Berkeley and is active at the Newman Center, which is the Catholic center for the university. Originally from Southern California, Michael loves architecture, all things design, boba, and encountering Beauty itself in every moment.

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