John Hoerster was the much-loved athletic director and head football coach at Loyola Academy for many years. Every morning he would stand at the main entrance as students came into school and say with great enthusiasm, time after time, “it’s a great day to be a Rambler!” I can’t tell you how many smiles came to the faces of otherwise very tired young men and women as they trudged into school. What a difference a cheerful and welcoming greeting can make for the one who receives it. This is a difference each of us can make with every person God puts into our lives each and every day.

I am reminded of this because of the way Paul greets the Corinthians with affection and encouragement in the first reading today. Paul does this consistently in all his letters, even when he proceeds to discuss difficult issues these Christian communities had to face. I am sure his initial greeting made it easier for the people of Corinth to hear some of the difficult things he addressed later in the letter.

—David McNulty works in the Operations office for the Midwest Jesuits.