Daily Reflection for Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Fellow Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 20:17-27
Responsorial: Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
Gospel: John 17:1-11a
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
Tuesday’s readings anticipate the deaths of Paul and Jesus. Paul says, “I know that none of you . . . will ever see my face again.” (Acts 20:25). Praying to God, Jesus says, “And now I will no longer be in the world.” (John 17:11a)
Living in the time of the coronavirus pandemic puts sickness and death in the daily thoughts of many folks . . . especially those in their ‘senior years.’ In addition to the loved ones we’ve lost in recent years, we now watch the numbers of the victims of this virus climb so rapidly, every day. It becomes too easy to envision that we, too, could be close to death’s threshold.
But what is ahead for us?
With few specifics about the afterlife in scripture, we too often fall back on very human ideas that have been influenced by vivid and frightening artistic images. If these were my only perspectives of the afterlife, my senior years would be very difficult.
Novelist C. S. Lewis struggled with those thoughts. Frustrated by his friend’s perspective, J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings) said to Lewis, “Your inability to understand stems from a failure of imagination on your part.” Fr. Ron Rolheiser helps us understand what Tolkien meant: “Imagination is the power to create the images that we need to understand and respond to what we are experiencing.”
That led me to imagine a slightly different afterlife. For myself now, my thoughts regarding the afterlife begin with a question. How will an all-powerful, all-loving, Creator God want to be reunited with one of His children? My answer is based on an experience from about 19 years ago.
While walking through church after Mass, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye. Our four-year-old goddaughter (Elizabeth) was running toward me. I got down on one knee. She rounded a corner, curls flying . . . and saw me waiting for her. Squealing in delight, she threw herself into my arms! She was experiencing the total vulnerability of extravagant love.
I want to go to God just like that!
So . . . until that glorious day when you and I squeal with delight and hurl ourselves into God’s loving arms, we have each other . . . the living, loving, Body of Christ . . . God with skin!
I love you, my friends,