This reflection is a part of a month-long series titled, 30 Days of Healing, as we seek to be instruments of peace and change.
In today’s Gospel readings (for the Catholic Church), we read the following:
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever (Jn 6:51)
I found myself last night reflecting on a 15-year old conversation with one of my great mentors, Iggy Catanello, Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Brooklyn. I speak of him in my book, Dreams Come True.
We would meet monthly at a diner across from the St. John’s University campus for lunch. There, we would talk all things, from the Mets, to our ministries, to his understanding of life and death.
One day after lunch, we walked back to his parish which was only a few blocks away. During this time, he said the following statement which stays with me to his day: “How will God let us into heaven if we cannot prove to love and get along with others while here on earth.”
His message was simple. Heaven was where God is, and where God is, there is peace and love. The nonsense, the divisions, the hurt, and the pain are not of God.
I would add to this statement that as we seek spiritual growth, we can find glimpses of heaven right now as we create peace in our hearts by being at peace with self and others.
When Jesus says the words, “whoever eats this bread lives together,” there is an invitation to welcome God into our whole being. When we do this, we receive a grace to truly live in peace.
This invitation to “live forever” is not just about our story after death, but an opportunity for right now.
So, where there is division in your life- where can you find peace?
Where can you heal broken relationships?
How can you heal the parts of you that is broken- by forgiving yourself, letting go of the regret and the burdens?
The opportunity to live forever is not just our final chapter, but our present one. Allow God into your heart, seek healing and peace, and find ways to live a better today and tomorrow.