1 Corinthians 9:22-23
To the weak, I became weak to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.
My husband, Danny, and I so look forward to Sunday evenings when my daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and John, along with granddaughter, Virginia Rose, can join us for dinner. We all enjoy the food and fellowship, and especially love being entertained by Virginia's growing vocabulary, interests, and good, old-fashioned hugs she freely shares.
While she still finds joy in playing with her rock collection, lining them up in rows and even learning to count, Virginia, it seems, is always looking for more ways to delight herself and us at the same time. She loves to roar at us like a tiger, laughing heartily at our "frightened" response. She grabs the broom, pretending to sweep, then lunges it at our feet to make us flee fearfully from the encroaching "monster." Oh, how she giggles merrily each time the broom meets our retreating shoes! How we rejoice in her blossoming ingenuity!
This past Sunday takes a different turn. Virginia notices the hat which Giovanni, Danny's son, is wearing from work.
"Haa," she says, pointing at Giovanni's head. "Haa! Haa!"
"You want to play with Gammie's hats?" I ask, scrambling to the closet where I keep a substantial collection. I grab three. Giovanni high-tails it to his closet, too, from whence he produces tons of caps for Virginia's enjoyment.
We all take turns trading off caps, but Virginia loves it best when we pile them on her head. A veritable mountain of thoughts and wishes, desires and dreams . . .
These images bring back memories, too, of a beloved book I read as a child entitled Caps for Sale, which you can see and hear on YouTube. If you have young children or grandchildren, by all means, share this story with them. They will be enchanted!
At this point, you may be wondering, What does all this hat stuff have to do with today's reading from 1 Corinthians? In my opinion? Everything!
We all wear many hats in our daily lives, don't we? Mother, father, son, daughter, caregiver, breadwinner, nurse, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief . . . You get the picture. Without losing our sense of self, we serve others in a vast variety of ways, meeting their needs where they are. We become, empathetically speaking, "all things to all people."
St. Paul knew that to attract as many as possible to the Good News of Christ Jesus, he had to wear many hats. One size or type would not be a fit for everyone he met. All those with whom he wished to share the Gospel. He had to meet them where they were, wearing a hat with which they could identify.
And, seeing as Paul's letters are still with us after 2,000 years, I'd say he delivered the message perfectly.
What are some of the hats you wear every day?
Will you pray with me?
Thank You, Father, for St. Paul and all the many hats he wore in order to spread the Good News of salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ. As we spread Your Word to others, may we meet them where they are in love and understanding, that they will choose to follow You. Amen.