CONTINUING MESSAGE SERIES
As we continue in our new Easter message series—HE IS RISEN: SEEING JESUS TODAY, we are exploring the many different ways we can see Jesus in our lives here and now. Jesus is not only risen in our beliefs, but with the eyes of faith and our hearts, we can see Jesus manifest everywhere, even in the midst of our storms and the current pandemic.
During this challenging time we also can experience an abundance of grace!! Where challenges arise, God’s light shines even more brightly. There is no question that Jesus is alive, he is with us, and will guide us to heaven through all the storms of our lives.
SHARING THE ROAD
One of the most important signs of light during the COVID-19 pandemic is the reality that we as an entire world, are in this together. There are no divisions in the fight against this deadly virus and the courage of so many front line workers seeking to assist others is beautiful. As we endure the physical distancing, self-isolation and embrace the economic, social and personal burdens of this time, we come to realize more and more, that we need to count on one another. We are all in this together.
Despite the physical separation, the restrictions on gatherings and the struggles of not working, we have also discovered more time to value our relationships. We realize that maybe those things and experiences we cherished the most just a few weeks ago are not as important as we thought. Just maybe, the struggle of this time is helping change our world view, our faith and the openness of sharing the road.
This weekend we are reflecting on the fact that we can truly see Christ in each other when we share the road together. We are not meant to be isolated, distant and alone. We are made for community and need to connect with one another. During this pandemic we are connecting in different ways knowing that we crave a sense of belonging and the support of one another. This is not just out of necessity but out of a chance to grow, love and cherish each other. We have the opportunity to share our joys, sorrows, achievements and stories so that others may strengthen, advise, celebrate and weep with us. Really, when we share the road and connect with others, we connect with Jesus. How can we do this in a special way in our world today?
I am not sure what will be on the priority list for you when the pandemic ends, but one of them for me is to go out for dinner with others—and it doesn’t even matter what restaurant. The starting point of sharing the road with others, being together, and connecting is inviting others into your life. None of us can connect and support one another if we are not walking together.
We need to invite others to walk with us and in that journey we get to know one another sharing our thoughts and ideas. The dialogue and the sharing grows over time but it cannot start without the invitation. This invitation can be a phone call, an email, a text or by each of us answering the invitation from Jesus to get involved in the parish or community. We can be the inviter or the invitee. The invitation can come from us, from others or from God. In all of these circumstances we need to be courageous and committed in sharing the journey with others.
(2) SHARING & LISTENING
These are two important aspects of life—the courage to share what we think, feel and see while also listening to those around us and being attentive to the voice of God. If we are going to share the journey along the road to heaven with others and God, we have to share something about our lives and be able to listen attentively with our hearts and not only our ears. To share the journey with others, we need to share ourselves honestly and openly, built on trust, as we are on the road to the same destination.
When we actually connect with others and share who we truly are, then we encounter the Risen Christ today. For when we share and listen, not for our own benefit, but for the sake of one another, the presence of Christ is shared as we support, encounter and engage one another.
None of these points are easy but require courage and trust in God. This final point may challenge us the most. If we want to see the Risen Jesus in our world today through you and me—then the simplest and most profound way is through forgiving one another. Mercy is the divine road of faith that unleashes light, grace, hope and freedom for others and ourselves. The act of forgiving someone who has hurt us or asking for forgiveness from someone whom we have hurt—and experiencing reconciliation is purely heavenly.
Through forgiveness, burdens are lifted, baggage is dropped and new life is given. Sharing the road together must include forgiveness because sometimes as we walk along we can get into arguments, disappointments and mistakes.
TWISTS AND TURNS
Sharing the road with others will have its twists and turns but without each other we will never navigate the journey to heaven. We are in this together and being left alone is simply not an option.