Songs of Comfort

May 12, 2021

Today’s reflection comes from frequent blogger, Fr. Michael Schleupner. He shared the following through his homily last Sunday, on Mother’s Day. It provides wise words inspired by a famous musician for Mother’s Day, during the pandemic and really every day of any year. Enjoy the video after the reflection too. How does this inspire you today? Who will you pick today? Share with us in the comments.

Songs of Comfortmusic, reflect

Many of us have heard of the famed cellist Yo Yo Ma. Yo Yo Ma is an American, born of Chinese parents. A year ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, he began posting videos of music that he recorded at his home during the lockdown. His first posting was Antonin Dvorak’s Going Home (see below). That video went viral with over 400,000 views.

Yo Yo Ma called this project Songs of Comfort. He has motivated musicians from around the world to post their own contributions on Songs of Comfort. As a result, musicians from just about every genre of music have done this. For example, there are contributions from the American singers and songwriters James Taylor and Carole King. There is the singer and songwriter Amy Ray from the contemporary folk duo Amy Ray and the Indigo Girls. And there is Hamed Sinno, the leader of a current rock band. All of these musicians are responding to Yo Yo Ma’s invitation. They are posting songs and instrumentals to comfort a world suffering with Covid.

Yo Yo Ma’s Invitation

Yo Yo Ma has written a dedication for some of his postings. One is for health care workers. He writes: “Your ability to balance human connection and scientific truth in service of us all gives me hope.” Another dedication is for those who have lost a loved one. He simply writes: “For those grieving.”

Yo Yo Ma has invited every musician and artist who owns a phone to be part of this. He says: “Practice the one-on-one principle because as a musician, your job – our job – is to actually move one person at a time. So pick a person that you know, or maybe you don’t know…. Maybe it’s someone who is healthy, maybe someone who’s ill, maybe it’s a child who’s been stuck at home. Pick what you think is the right thing to play for them. Make it personal, because music is always personal, and record it with a little message and send it to them.”

Ma concludes: “That’s how we re-build our humanity. So create the value of that one-on-one idea: for each musician, for each actor, for each poet, for each artist to say…

“Pick a person. Pick a person a day.”

Our Response

I find all of this very inspiring. Yo Yo Ma’s invitation really extends to all of us. “Pick a person. Pick a person a day.” What a wonderful way to respond to Jesus’ commission in today’s gospel. “Love one another as I love you.”

So today, Mother’s Day, the obvious person to pick is our mother. Connect with her, thank her for something specific, maybe for one of her endearing traits. And if your mother has passed on, as mine has, then remember her and be thankful for her in prayer. And maybe beyond that, today pick a mother who has lost a child, or a single-parent mother, or a mother whose husband has recently died, or your grandmother, or godmother. So, pick a mother today. Offer some personal prayer for her and reach out to her today.

And on other days, pick another person: someone who is sick, someone who is lonely, someone who is depressed, an essential worker who stayed on the job at some risk to provide for others, a teacher who encouraged you, a boss who believed in you, a coach who guided you.

Our imagination will come up with a person each day. Express some appreciation in your own way. As Yo Yo Ma says, this will help to re-build humanity. It will be our way of living out Jesus’ call to love as he has loved.

“Pick a person. Pick a person a day.”

~Fr. Michael Schleupner