"I am the vine; you are the branches." — John 15:5

Monday in Holy Week, March 26, 2018

A world history timeline would be marked by certain eras, note trends in culture, the arts and sciences, religion, politics, technology and industrialization, as well as natural disasters, tragedies and wars.

If we composed a timeline illustrating Holy Week, beginning from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, it would be just as complicated. Each Gospel writer provides input from a different perspective. Each succeeding story seems bit darker than the one before, a bit more foreboding, until we reach God’s Friday.

If you drew a timeline of your life, it’s likely that there would be certain points along the way that mark significant events…beginning with your birth, or perhaps even before that, with your heritage, right up to today. Some of those milestones might be related to education and work pursuits, hobby or leisure activities or perhaps significant health issues but it’s likely that many of them will focus on relationships…friends and lovers and family…births, joys, suffering, deaths. Some of those things might yet be very raw for you, as you yearn for deeper connections or grieve the loss of a relationship or the death of a loved one. But as you envisage your lifeline, can you also mark points along the Way in your relationship with God, your experiences, your bond with the Holy One and with His Body, the Church? And are there any gaps, always easier to highlight in retrospect, where you were, in some way, struggling, aimless or lost?

No matter how much we wander, God doesn’t give up on us but is always looking to restore the closeness and confirm the love. Stress, worry, pain and illness, can make us lose sight of the good; bad decisions can take us down a difficult trail; the sins of pride, or stubborn-ness can prevent us from asking forgiveness or granting it. We can feel spiritually dull or distant. We can construct elaborate protective shields designed to keep both God and people at arm’s length. Life circumstances can trouble us, seemingly beyond help. But God is there. We may feel alienated from everyone and everything but we are not lost to God and God…why God is searching for us, to bring us to… lie down in green pastures, beside still waters…to revive our souls, to guide us along right pathways…to dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

Prayer: Lord Jesus, guide me to move from where I am to where you would like me to be. Help me to listen to your will, discern your path and rejoice in your love. Amen.