Today, I would like to direct your attention to the series of profound paradoxes found in the first reading: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

I was 14 years old when my sister gave birth to Christine. I was chosen to be her godfather. She had curly black hair, and she was beautiful, and had the sweetest smile. When her sister was born and soon began to overtake her with her skills, we realized that Christine was mentally handicapped; her brain had been damaged at birth. It took many years for my sister and brother-in-law to come to terms with this great sadness. I think that they thought it was their fault.

One day my faith-filled brother-in-law came to peace about it, and he said to me with tears in his eyes: “You know, Bob, she is the only one of our six children whom I know is going to heaven.” Christine is still alive at age 66, and I will be visiting her just about the time that you are reading this.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.