A Bridge to Life

Readings for July 1, 2018

Wisdom 1:13-15, 2:23-24
Psalm 30
2 Corinthians 8:7, 9, 13-15
Mark 5:21-43

www.usccb.org/bible/readings/

Until I saw it for the first time, I had it set in my imagination that the famous Arch in St. Louis crossed from one side of the Mississippi River to the other – the gateway connecting the “east” to the “west” in the middle of the United States. But it wasn’t. It was just some metal curving up from one side of a park and back down to the other side of that same park. It looks at the river but does not cross. As a metaphor for my faith, it sometimes seems as though I am looking at God and all of His glory, but rather than moving towards Him I am firmly fixed on my side of the stream.

As a, let’s say, control enthusiast, wholly submitting to God’s will is tough for me. However, I know there is no fullness in life outside of the will of God. And as the One who is love, God’s will is to gather what has been scattered and He wants me to live in full communion with Him, even here on this earth. The Lord’s Prayer petitions, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” The petition blurs the divide, intentionally, between the paradise that is heaven and the paradise that once was, and one day will again be, here on earth. For mankind, God’s creation and the object of His love, He desires everlasting life. Sunday’s first reading beautifully points out that “God did not make death.” God is good and can only make good things. But to be made whole in Him, to become the “imperishable” being God intended me to be, I can’t stay on the banks of the river gazing at the other side. I need to find the bridge between my life on earth and the promise of heaven. I need to move toward God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the Holy Spirit as the divine bridge between heaven and earth, holy and human. “It is impossible to see God’s Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God’s Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit” (CCC 683). Only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit can I begin to understand the example of Jesus Christ, and only through my knowledge of Jesus can I have knowledge of God the Father and His will for me.

Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (12:3). Well, “Jesus is Lord.” He is. Jesus crossed the bridge I seek. Jesus stepped off his throne, “became poor,” and walked among us. In faith, I believe the story of his birth and his ministry. In faith, I believe him to have lived as both fully human and fully divine. In faith, I believe that he died for my sins, rose again, and fulfilled his mission by leaving me with an advocate—the Holy Spirit. Letting go in faith is the first step to building the bridge and fulfilling God’s will for my life. Mark’s gospel passage points out two healings coming as a result of those who stepped out in faith in Jesus—clear examples of how God wants His people to have everlasting life. And with the presence of the Holy Spirit within me, I can see God’s Son and move toward imperishable life, proclaiming with great confidence, “Jesus is Lord.”

“Come Holy Spirit, fill the heats of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever joyful in His consolations, through Christ our Lord. Amen”

3 thoughts on “A Bridge to Life

  1. Yes, on one side of the bridge stands God, and on the other side stands man. I suppose we must meet God on the bridge and at the centre of it for Him to lead us to His side of the bridge. These two Bible passages come to mind in view of this image:

    No man can come to me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him; and I will raise him up in the last day. – Jn 6:44
    Behold, I stand at the gate, and knock. If any man shall hear my voice, and open to me the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. – Rev 3:20

    God calls us to meet him in the middle of the bridge. He doesn’t cross over it entirely to yank us by the hand. So, when we do cross our side of the bridge upon hearing Him call to draw near to Him who is waiting for us at the centre to lead us to the other side, it is here that we open our door to Him by freely giving Him our hand to take. God will first meet us half way before He will lead us home all the way. This is what co-operative grace is all about.

    Thanks again for a most instructive reflection from the pew!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I love the image of being drawn by God. It is, at its base, an attraction, which is essential to the love we are called to by God, for God. That love requires us to move. “In him we live and move and have our being.” Acts 17:28
      Gotta get moving in the right direction!
      Peace and blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

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