Is a weekly trip to the grocery store part of your routine? There’s a store I visit on my way home from work each week. As I walk up and down each aisle procuring items from the list, I’m often alone with my thoughts. There’s a certain peaceful rhythm to this routine chore and at times the quiet lends itself to prayer, rather unexpectedly, I assure you. I think about my husband, our children, their grandparents, and people I know who are going through all kinds of things. Once the cart is full and all the items on the list are checked off, I advance to the checkout area. On a recent shopping trip, while standing in line, the woman in front of me turns and apologizes that she might take a while because she has WIC coupons (no need to apologize for feeding your children, I reply with a reassuring smile). What I don’t tell her is that I can remember standing in a grocery store line twenty-three years ago with our two oldest children in the cart, hoping the amount in my wallet was going to cover the groceries and two packages of diapers. I know it’s not easy being a mom, I think to myself, and I hope she knows I really do not mind waiting for her transaction to finish.
The WIC coupons do slow the line down, but that gives me even more time just to think and pray, adding a prayer for the young mother in front of me and for all mothers and fathers who worry about keeping their children fed and clothed. When it’s time for me to hand my bags to the cashier and answer the weekly question of How heavy do you want me to fill your bags, I am surprised that the cashier has more to tell me. She can’t be older than a high school teen or maybe a college freshman. Her eyes get wide and she begins to tell me about how rude people have been in the store today. She goes on to tell me about some of the unkind things people have said to her and just the general rude behavior that’s been going on in the store. She asks me why people don’t use their manners anymore, this young, very wise cashier. Inside I laugh because most of the rude people this young person has encountered are much older and should know better, right?
What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of
What the world needs now is love, sweet love,
No not just for some but for everyone.
These lyrics are from Jackie DeShannon’s hit from 1965, penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Don’t they still ring true today? What about Jesus’ words in Matthew 22: 34-40 that we heard in yesterday’s gospel? What makes it so hard to love our neighbor? Is this something we can all work on together? Let’s try, friends. Our world needs love NOW.