Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.(Matthew 35-36)
Imagine if Jesus entered your town, or more intimately, your home today.
He would find many of us battling one of the most difficult years of our lives.
Masks covering our drawn faces. Rallying cries desperately yearning for equality and justice. The growing list of wounded, burdened, and dead. The fear and anxiety of tomorrow accompanied by questions and regrets of the past.
Jesus would surely find today’s crowds to be troubled as he did 2,000 years ago, and we pray his heart would again be moved with pity.
Jesus is the “good” shepherd who shows us a different way. Other spiritual teachers and heroes of faith reveal a similar path to peace, justice, and love. No matter the situation, whatever crosses we must bear, like the Prodigal son, this path leads us home (Luke15:11-32).
Home, in the spiritual world, is God. Home is, as the saying goes, where the heart is- and that heart is our Source and Creator. The same God that dwells in your heart, in our temples, mosques, and Churches, in nature and in all things- gently calls our attention.
Jesus brings home into the towns he visits, inviting them to give up their possessions and to follow Him (Matthew 19:21). These possessions go beyond our belongings. It also includes our burdens, self-doubt, anxieties, fears, and troubles. In God, we find freedom, and we find home.
As I write these reflections, I do so with my soon-to-be 2-month-old daughter resting in my arms. Occasionally, I look down and see this angelic face and I am reminded of God’s presence in my midst.
This child, a miracle, came from God (she has a small birthmark on her forehead which I like to say is where God kissed her before sending her to us). She, like all of us, started as a microscopic spark and by forces we do not fully comprehend, came into being.
As we were being created, we were not troubled, worrying what will happen tomorrow. We simply were and allowed God’s spirit to move. Why did we stop trusting as the years passed and the Ego strengthened?
The Bohemian-Austrian poet, Rainer Rilke, provides this beautiful reflection to ponder this day:
God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night. These are the words we dimly hear: You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me. Flare-up like a flame and make big shadows I can move in. Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me. Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness. Give me your hand.
This life, in all its seriousness, is not a solo journey. God lives within us and with us- we just need to return home.