We are living in very tumultuous times, there is so much uncertainty and fear, and every day we are faced with a barrage of information that drags us down. Our world is filled with so much negativity, hatred, and doubt. This is not a new phenomenon to the faithful people of God, simply look at the first reading this weekend and you are reminded of how God’s people wandered and suffered for so many years before it was all set right. Yet through all their suffering, they were provided and cared for.
Even now in the midst of all that is happening, we are still provided with nourishment and given new opportunities to see beyond all that is wrong in the world, recognizing the gifts and blessings in our lives. A chance to recognize the “manna” that gives us sustenance, and the springs coming forth from seemingly lifeless “flinty rocks” to quench our thirst. It may be small or large, it may be a simple hello from a friendly face, or good news we were waiting for — whatever the situation or how it comes about, it is these and many more that outweigh all that is bad around us. This is not an attempt to downplay what is happening, but rather a way of seeing with the eyes of God, recognizing the beauty that flourishes in the midst of the rubble.
This may be a time when we feel abandoned, uncared for, and have a prevailing sense that our prayers and pleas are going unanswered. One look in the newspaper, listening to the radio, or catching up on the day’s events on the local news, often reaffirms those sentiments. Looking back at the first reading from Deuteronomy, we see that even though so much befell them as they wandered through barren and hostile lands, they persevered, overcoming all that they faced, finally reaching what had been promised to them.
It is in such times that we need to recognize that we are in fact “one body” — all beloved children of God. We are not defined by our race, creed, or any other socially created concept that strives to set us apart from others, we are and should be seen as “one” with Christ, loved for who we are, not how we are perceived to be.
How do I believe this to be true? How is it even possible to begin to see a silver lining in all this darkness? The answer is simple — when Jesus sacrificed Himself for us, when He gave Himself as food and drink for our Salvation, He chose to dwell in us. We have all heard the expression “you are what you eat,” and if we believe this, then every time we partake of the Bread and Wine, the Body and Blood of Christ, we allow Christ to dwell in us, and in turn, we dwell in Him.
We are reminded of this in the John’s Gospel when Jesus tells us “Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in Me and I in him.” This is how we can begin to see some light at the end of this seemingly unending dark tunnel. First the fears that were raised and still prevail over COVID-19, and now the racial and political unrest that threatens and shakes our being to the very core of our moral fibers. However, if one truly believes that God takes care of us, that He sent His only Son to save us, then we can begin to understand and see how love, mercy, and faith can carry us through even the most difficult and darkest of times.
It is in times of dissent and trouble that we often will recognize that God is in our lives, if we choose to do so. It is not to say that He is absent in the good times, but rather that when things are going good, it is easy to overlook that we are in a loving relationship with God and He is ever present in our lives. If we believe that Jesus is in us and us in Him, then we can overcome all the obstacles in our way, we can see past the hatred and misguided actions, and take a deep look into our fellow man’s eyes. When we allow ourselves to look at others with eyes of love and faith, we begin to see the world through the eyes of Christ.
This vision allows us to work through life’s emotional roller coaster. It carries us through the joys, holds us in the suffering, and quiets our fears and anxious thoughts. It gives us the space we need to look at the world and see everyone for the beauty they offer, for the talents they bring, and the love they carry in their hearts. We must remember that we are truly “one body.” We are the hands and feet of Christ, we are the eyes and ears, and most importantly, we are His mouth and words, and how we choose to live, carry out His mission, and use our words — has a great impact on our world and the world around us.
My prayer is for a world that knows love, provides hope, is light in times of darkness, and brings charity to those in most need, especially in times were it seems most difficult to do so. We have all been given the graces and gifts of God through His Holy Spirit — our mission “should we choose to accept” is to make a difference and care for the “one body” of Christ. We know and understand God’s presence in our lives, let us help others recognize it as well — through our deeds, words, and actions. It is truly up to each and every one of us as members of the one true “body” of Christ, to make a difference — let us make it our life’s work and be the change our world so desperately needs.
God bless and continue to stay safe.
Anchor columnist Rose Mary Saraiva belongs to Holy Trinity Parish, Fall River and works for the diocesan Office of Faith Formation.
Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org