I once asked a blind man what the greatest obstacle was that he felt he had to overcome. He replied: “My greatest problem is that everybody I talk to just thinks of me as a blind man. They may express sympathy, but it is not sympathy I want. It is understanding that I am not just a blind man. I want them to just see ME.” We all possess something of the beauty and grace of God. Often, we are quick to see the brokenness, the defects, the negatives at the expense of overlooking the possibilities, the hope, the good.
It is much easier to discover what a person stands for by reading their actions. We lend our energies to those things we hold dear. We reveal our heart’s intent by striving to realize certain goals and accomplishments. There is another version of the adage about actions: “Your actions speak so loud; I can’t hear a word you’re saying.” Nothing speaks louder and clearer than our daily deeds. Fr. Rohr reminds us that we may the only gospel some people will ever read.
There are many people today, who for whatever reason, do not see themselves as important in the eyes of God. But God knows us and loves and calls us each by name day after day. We all need to be reminded that we are particularly important for who we are and not because of what we do. We are created in his image and likeness. Why would he ever abandon us? Hopefully, we can see others as Jesus sees us.
Fourth Sunday of Easter –
Proof of the Resurrection is not the empty tomb. The proof of his being our risen Messiah and Good Shepherd is right here right now, living and shining through every one of us who believe in Jesus. Even with our periodic bouts of sin, denial, and doubt, of fear and uncertainty, Jesus says about us: “I know mine and mine know me.” We have a shepherd who genuinely loves us, just as we are, not the way we should be, because none of us is where we should be.
Jesus’ discourse on the bread of life became a deciding moment in the lives of his disciples. It was as if Jesus drew a line in the sand! We are told “many of them broke away and would not remain in his company any longer.” Jesus looked at the remaining twelve and asked: “Will you also leave?” But they replied: “To whom else shall we go; you have the words of eternal life.” Now what about our choices? In a day no one draws a line in the sand in front of us. Our real choices are much subtler than that. Life itself has a way of drawing a line in the sand, and the choices we make spell out to everyone our value system.
St. George –
Who is Jesus Christ to me? Can we sense that divine presence that holds all of life in perspective? Is there calmness about us during the storm? We speak of living in chaos all around us these days but are we taking the journey within that will help us to see that there really is peace coming from within us. At all times let us be attentive to the presence of God.
We need to see and experience more kindness and compassion and forgiveness in society today and it must become obvious through us and in us. When we begin to treat one another with love and compassion, others will begin to recognize the presence of God in our world. You see, it all has to do with you and me making present the kingdom of God in our world today. As Mother Theresa told her sisters: Do not preach to the people about Jesus. Be Jesus for them.
St. Anselm –
So much of life is holding on. We hold on to our job even though we are not happy. We hold on to our friends even though they seem to have lost interest in being with us. We hold on to our health even though disease has diminished our strength. We hold on to our faith even though our mind is riddled with doubts about the promises and purposes of God. While we are desperately holding on to life, life is holding on to us. Our faith will not let us down. Nothing of lasting value will be lost for those who come to faith.
When Jesus describes himself as the bread of life, he prompts in us images of warmth and comfort. Jesus is the bread of life and he wants to give us that bread always. He wants to fill us with his risen life. What Jesus is saying, though, is more than mere sentiment. Jesus is our nourishment. He is our staple food. It is Jesus and Jesus alone who can bring us the true peace of God.
Our lifetime journey of faith, sometimes referred to as the spiritual life, is one of looking for Jesus. But, like the crowd, we often do so because we want or need something. As Jesus tells the crowd, so he tells us, to believe that he is the one sent from God, to see the presence of God in all things, to see beyond this earth to the stars, to have that vision which leads to a true understanding of God’s action and love within us…and we will never grow hungry.