Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Every human being is always looking to be happy, to find peace and that is why people get married, have kids, work a second job, learn a new language, enter politics or social service, and many other things. When they see that this happiness does not last usually it is because it has nothing to do with God. It is not permanent. The whole world is looking for this peace, and few find it. When you see that all your idols, the things you wish for and worship, don’t fulfill you, call out to God. Call out many times like the blind Bartimaeus in the gospel. He screamed loudly until Jesus Christ stopped and listened to him and cured him. Bartimaeus prayed; he didn’t stop calling out, and Jesus Christ stopped and cured him; he will do the same for us.
When a person sees that they are beaten up, spiritually dead or close to it, then Jesus Christ reveals himself to them. He comes to those who need it, to the little ones, the poor ones, which is all of us. Then we can unite ourselves to the vine. We can be a branch that is inserted into the vine, grafted onto him. And we start to see the fruit of love, which is forgiveness, peace, not judging others. This is not a demand and an obligation; it is a gift. But to be connected to the vine means you can love, forgive, reconcile with your enemy; things that are humanly impossible become easy.
We see a good example of this in Barnabas in the first reading. He was the disciple who protected Paul. The Christians were scared to death of him because of how many he had killed. Barnabas probably risked his life and took Paul from city to city and helped the Christians to accept him. His name means ‘son of encouragement’ or ‘son of consolation.’ Jordan Pederson was praised in the Wall Street Journal today because he encourages young men, and women, but a higher percentage of men listen to him. He tells them some pretty simple things: do one thing in life and give it all you got, make your bed in the morning, make one room in your place as beautiful as possible.
The Acts of Apostles says the Church was being built up. Yes, by love, not by knowledge, or money, by signs these early Christians gave in loving their enemy and risking their life for others. The same can happen today. St. John tells us to love not in words or pretty phrases but in deeds. Deeds are love not sweet words; a saint tells us. What can I do today to be more connected with Christ, to remain in him a bit more today?