Saturday, September 20, 2008
Friday in the 24th Week of Ordinary Time
Accepting Our Traveling Companion
Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:12-20; Psalm 17:1bcd, 6-7, 8b and 15; Luke 8:1-3
Picture: CC dontdothisathome
Those who have done it before sometimes tell us that going on a trip with a friend typically has one of two consequences. It either reinforces or ruins the relationship. This has probably to do both with the sudden decrease in space between each person, as well as the sudden increase in time spent together. Especially if you’re sharing a hotel room, there’s nothing like a trip to highlight every little idiosyncrasy, every little behavioral quirk in another person. Little things – such as snoring, or noisy bathroom habits, or taking too much time over a meal – things that may often escape notice in the usual interaction between friends, suddenly seem to take center stage. The question one is faced with then is how much one values the relationship – enough to accept these new, and perhaps less than desirable, discoveries about the other?
Listening to our gospel reading today, we may well wonder if something of the same process took place among the traveling companions described there. Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, we are told. And accompanying him were the Twelve and some women… What was it like for these followers of Jesus as they followed him on his journey? What was it like to be in such close physical and emotional proximity to the Lord, and to his other followers? We may well surmise that in addition to the geographical itinerary that they all traversed in common, there was also a spiritual journey that each one had to make, a passage into deeper relationship with the Lord.
Consider, for example, how some of them came to be followers of Jesus. Some of the women, we’re told, had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities. And it is at least probable that many others were hoping that Jesus might liberate the Jews from foreign rule. And yet, we also know well the destination towards which Jesus was heading – Calvary and the Cross. What was it like for those first disciples, as their journey progressed? What was it like to see their initial hopes gradually fade away with the diminishment and death of their chosen Master?
Quite likely, each disciple faced a similar daunting challenge. It is the same challenge that Paul writes about in the first reading. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all… It is the awesome project of allowing our hopes in Christ to be deepened (and not destroyed) by his Passion and Death. It is the difficult task of receiving the grace to believe in the Resurrection of the Lord. This doesn’t mean, of course, that we should give up our work in this world. Quite to the contrary, it means allowing our otherworldly hope inform and strengthen our earthly efforts.
Journeying together with this traveling companion of ours – so human and also so divine – we find ourselves led to the boundaries of our hope. The question we face is whether or not we are willing to cross those boundaries, whether or not we are ready to accept the peculiar idiosyncrasies of our traveling companion, and move with him into the peace and joy of the Kingdom.
Care for a vacation together anyone?
Posted by Fr Chris at 12:11 am