Ed Garbacz speaks during a talk he gave Sept. 14 at St. Matthew Parish, Conshohocken. (Photo by Dan McCarty)

While navigating through these months of pandemic, folks have been able to think about what life really means and the other important people in their lives.

Members of St. Matthew Parish in Conshohocken met to examine responsibilities to society through Scripture and life experiences through a talk given Sept. 14 by Ed Garbacz titled “Come and See.”

The main purpose of this discussion was to help everyone understand the deeper meaning behind the gifts that God provides for us in our everyday lives. It was also a chance to come together in a small group of a half dozen people, while many are still uncomfortable going out.

Garbacz opened the evening by suggesting that people stop to think and ask themselves a few questions, such as how to use the gifts God has given, what actions should be taken to serve the community as well as what we should be grateful for today.

“We have to repay for the gifts God has given us,” said Garbacz. “God wants us to make the world a better place.”

Garbacz shared a passage from Isaiah, “You will cry for help and the Lord will say, ‘Here I am.’’

Garbacz wanted everyone to stop and think about how we took the news of the pandemic when it started to affect everyday life six months ago. It was his hope that people may have thought about how they could improve the world and themselves in this confusing time.

With many normal things suddenly unavailable, the social lockdown provided an opportunity to think about the true meaning of life.

Garbacz described the world as a “me” society. People tend to think of themselves without keeping others in mind. While many office jobs could be done safely from home, essential workers such as those providing food had no choice but to go to work during the lockdown and brave the health risks.

“They couldn’t work from home unlike others,” Garbacz said. “They couldn’t take off. We must appreciate the essential workers so we can enjoy the necessities of life.”

Many people in today’s society want to be rich and famous living a great life, especially youth. They tend to look up to musicians, actors and sports heroes as their idols. Although those people have money and fame, they do not always find happiness. Life on the road often results in extended periods away from family and sometimes their marriages end in divorce.

“We need to think about them,” said Garbacz. “Many of them do drugs and lack overall stability.”

He stressed the importance of family, through which our basic needs are taken care of. One the greatest lessons that can be learned from COVID-19 is that one can live without many nonessential things but not without the basics that are so frequently taken for granted.

Garbacz shared the story of a group of people in France that started their own communities to help people with disabilities and their families. Those L’Arche communities view those with disabilities as teachers, teaching the lessons of love.

An example of love being taught in the local area is at Archbishop Carroll High School where the students work with the developmentally delayed students of St. Katherine’s Day School ranging in age from 4 to 21. Students from the two schools interact both on and off campus during and after school hours.

“We can live long or short but what we did, we did with our time,” said Garbacz. “Not everyone can do great things but everyone can do little things in a great way.”

Those in attendance at Garbacz’s talk found it to be quite informative, including Bill Hesnan, a parishioner of St. Matthew.

“We get so caught up with ourselves,” said Hesnan. “There’s people out there who have it worse.”

Hesnan referred to the time spent at home as “quarantine cleanout.” He along with many others were able to get rid of things they don’t use, a good start to thinking about those in even greater need.

Garbacz will speak again at St. Matthew on Monday, Nov. 30 as Advent begins.

Parishioners of St. Matthew’s in Conshohocken listen to Ed Garbacz’s talk Sept. 14. (Dan McCarty)