Finding the Lord on the unexpected path

| Archbishop Bernard Hebda | September 24, 2015
Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Our Sunday Gospels in recent weeks have all been set in the context of Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem. St. Mark has been emphasizing the important lessons that the disciples learned “along the way”: the importance of taking up the cross, the connection between greatness and service, the urgency of avoiding whatever causes us to sin. These are game-changing lessons that the disciples learn only because of their willingness to accept the Lord’s invitation to journey together.

Since the middle of June, I have been learning a thing or two about the nature of journeys. Indeed, I have been passing through the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport often enough that the more observant TSA agents now regularly remind me to take my pectoral cross out of my pocket before I pass through security. One of the things that I have come to appreciate is that no matter how well we plan, the journey is always full of surprises. An unexpected “weather event,” a blocked lane or a forgotten cellphone can all easily change the course of a trip.

In recent months, many of you may have been feeling that the road on which the Archdiocese presently finds itself is not a route that you would have ever chosen on your own, a sometimes difficult path with dizzying curves and more than the normal share of bone-jarring potholes that can shake us to our core as we move forward.

St. Mark the Evangelist, I suspect, would be quick to remind us that it is precisely in those unexpected turns that we should expect to encounter the Lord.

Where should we be looking for Him on this uncharted course? Mother Teresa would often speak of encountering Jesus “in the distressing disguise of the poor.” St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Baptist de la Salle would recognize him in the child to be taught.

St. John Paul II would find him in crowds of teens and young adults searching for meaning at World Youth Day.

On a recent evening under a starry Minnesota sky, I heard Laura speak of finding Christ in the campus ministry programs at the U of M, Father Jules [Omba Omalanga] recognize him in the patients at North Memorial Hospital, and Robert describe how he encounters him in a retreat program offered annually to inmates at the prison in Lino Lakes. In even the most challenging of circumstances and the most unlikely of places, the Lord is here and continues to teach.

Had it not been for a road construction detour on Summit Avenue, I may have never discovered the delights that awaited me on Grand, which runs one block parallel.

Who knows what the Lord who writes straight with crooked lines has in store for this local Church? Eye has not seen nor ear heard what God has ready for those who love him.

Archbishop Hebda is on twitter: @ArchbishopHebda

Encontrando al Señor en el camino inesperado

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Category: Only Jesus

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