Maybe it’s just me, but I bet it’s happened to you, too: on our way to work, or a baseball game, or the beach, we notice that the traffic on the other side of the highway is unbelievably, jaw-droppingly BAD. One little pothole-patching crew has caused a backup so phenomenal, we can’t help but marvel, and wince, and be grateful that we are not in that mess. Wow. We make a mental note to take a different route home if we think it will impact us – but, hey, chances are it won’t. So we zoom down our side of the road, and eventually the spectacle recedes from our mind.
But oh it’s a whole different story if I’m the one or you’re the one stopped dead 12 miles behind the pothole patchers, right? Now it’s our problem, our life impacted. Our attitudes and priorities become clear. Our plans change. Our relationships are affected. Our hunger sharpens. And if we’re there long enough, our community becomes the others on this road with us. Now it’s personal. So very, very personal.
Such can be our journey with Jesus. We can choose to speed through life, keeping God at a distance, occasionally processing Him as an object of some note, but mainly as an ignorable or forgettable event that only truly impacts those other poor saps who seem to be going the less fortunate way.
Or! We can see that God (God Himself!) is always with us, on our side. We can allow His presence to determine our everything. We can stop and realize that above all, He wants to abundantly pour out upon you and upon me – and everyone who travels alongside us — a love that is simply, profoundly, radiantly personal. How do we know God is personal? Because He became a human person. How do we begin to relate to this personal God? By actually inviting Him to be our driver, our companion, and our hole-patcher – all three. And if we’ve already done that, it’s probably time to shift from loving God to being in love with God. And then our way becomes incredibly free and clear. Chapter 8 of St. Paul’s letter to the Romans is a great map of that freedom. May God bless our trip.
Parish Catechetical Leader