Tuesday, March 8, 2016

No longer strangers

Our good works of mercy—corporal and spiritual, in response to the call of Pope Francis on this Jubilee Year of Mercy and as our Alay Kapwa this Lent may have opened us to cross borders of difficulties and the unknown, and fearlessly face unfamiliar people that God in His providence planned for us to widen our area of service. They may be new faces or new problems with old faces—all these creating percussions that challenge our faith, cultural beliefs and customs.

With humility, we cry with Jesus, “I cannot do anything of myself; I am not seeking my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:19).  To us, God still remains a mystery as He invites us to cross over to deep waters, ‘duc in altum.’ So Jesus is our model in our pilgrimage to go beyond ourselves and be one with our brethren in any part of the world in the common struggle for dignified living and life’s basic necessities.  Pope Francis challenges us to move forward and share our resources with the different faces of the least of our brethren with whom Christ identifies Himself –today’s poor, the migrant and the deprived, even the unbeliever, and encounter in them the living Jesus.

“Our path,” Pope Francis explained, “must take us further so that we live our faith by looking at Christ and in Him we find the Father and brothers and sisters who await us.”  This means surrounding ourselves with people not like us just like the two disciples at Emmaus whose hearts unknowingly ‘burned with joy’ upon walking with and listening to the Stranger on the road that turned out to be their Risen Lord who later broke the Bread of His Body with them at table.  Encountering the unknown turned out encountering the other face of a God who, so to say, roams the unfamiliar streets.

I am reminded of the song “Companions on the Journey” that sings of our togetherness in the journey of sharing life and breaking the Bread of God’s love: “No longer strangers to each other, no longer strangers in God’s House; we are fed and we are nourished by the strength of those who care…We are made for the glory of our God, for service in the name of Jesus, to walk side by side with hope in our hearts, for we believe in the love of our God...and walk humbly with our God.”

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