A New Vision

04-24-2020Pastoral ReflectionsRev. Brian F. Manning

The last two months have certainly altered our perceptions and understandings about our daily world and life. It appears that whatever people were seeking and whatever things people thought were foundational or essential to life have certainly changed or been shifted. The closedown of our daily life as we know it and the imposing of "social distancing" have caused many people to ponder in positive and also negative ways the meaning of their lives, what their past has been, and also what their future may be like. These past months have allowed and sometimes forced people to ask about "who and what really matters in life." Before all this, many people had been traveling along just presuming everything which we have was good and everything we desired was even better.

The excessive amount of hours that people work, the accumulation of all sorts of bigger and better new things, the lack of family time, and the constant pursuit of more have for the most part disappeared for most of us. The medical, emergency, and all courageous infrastructure workers are still up and about, but most folks are at home working through smart phones and computers if possible, or hoping and worrying they are furloughed off. In many ways we are at a special point in life, when we should be asking ourselves before our world restarts what do we really want to have and do to have a meaningful, fulfilling, and wonderful life. Do we really want to return to what was? Or shall we take the time now to start to plan how to have a truly better life? I would suggest now is the time to hope and dream to have a better, more meaningful and wonderful life for yourself and for your loved ones. Now is the time to ask how faith can support, enrich, and help us develop a life that brings joy and light to our hearts and lives. This task applies to all of us, the Greatest Generation, Babyboomers, Gen X, Y, Millennials, Gen Z and even High School and Junior High students. Reading the scripture of this weekend and pondering its meaning is a good beginning to finding what steps we need to take to change our lives when "we re-open."

The big question in a sense in the scripture this weekend is "what truly lasts in life?" What can go with us throughout our days and beyond our earthly existence? We learn in the Gospel passage that Jesus gave us a gift which may go with us in this life each day and also being us to eternal life beyond our allotted days. As the gospel relates, the apostles did not recognize Jesus easily or understand well and quickly, but their journey to Emmaus step by step with him brought them meaning and understanding. At the "breaking of the bread" is when they finally came to understand the presence and meaning of Jesus. This "breaking of the bread" is when, in talking with Jesus, that they gained insight into the meaning of their lives. In listening to his words and in sharing his sacred bread (Communion) they finally understood who they are and what they must do in life.

Our churches have been closed temporarily to Masses and Services due to the government's directive to keep people alive and safe during this pandemic. All of us have been missing from the 'breaking of the bread" — Mass — during these many months and days. As the Apostles discussed truth and meaning when they broke bread with Jesus, so will we also when we gather again in the holy sanctuary of Saint Mary's. When this begins again, will you bring in your heart a new vision of who you are and what matters in your life? Will you understand that to have meaning, purpose, and deep love in your life, you need to gather each week at Mass for the breaking of the bread and the recognizing of Jesus in your life?