by Fr Lawrence.
Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid (Mark 6:51)
Sometimes looking at what is happening around us in our world, we might be compelled to ask questions like: Does my life have any ultimate meaning? Does God exist? Why is there suffering and evil? How do I decide what is right and wrong?
Such questions make us adopt a world view which we call religion. To negotiate the terrain of life, even when it seems challenging, we need a map that is true and accurate. Christianity as a religion with the person of Jesus Christ provides us with such a map that is true and accurate, to help us navigate the compelling questions and situations that may keep coming in our minds and especially in a time like the present pandemic. With the map that Jesus is continuously providing us, that is, his Word in the Sacred Scriptures, we cannot be lost. But we can only tame our egos and desires to accept that life has ultimate meaning found in God alone. Although with the present life predicament we might be tempted to get lost, Jesus continues to give us comfort, courage, and the hope as we find ourselves lost trying to navigate life using unreal and inaccurate maps as we search for the meaning of what is, and he says to us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled”(Jn 14:1).
Uplifted by the words of Jesus, I took an evening walk to the lake and sat by the lake for a couple of minutes in meditation. While in silence, I experienced the calmness, peace, and stillness of the waters. The steady rolling of the waves, and the openness of the waters. The lake is open, with no trees, mountains, bumps, or any obstacle, but clear visibility, flying birds over the waters, water games, the vastness of the space with an abundance of waters, peace, and the beauty of the aging sun awaiting rebirth on the next day. I remembered my birthday and visualized life as a journey between birth and death. I then visualized the walking Jesus over the waters and the terrified disciples after confusing him with a ghost. I heard him speak these words to his terrified disciples, “Courage! It’s me! Don’t be afraid.” With these words, Jesus became my peace and I ended my meditation feeling comfort, encouraged, and having encountered God in the waters of the lake.
Amid the challenge of the present time, let us remember that God speaks to us through the events of this world. It is up to us to know how to interpret the map he gives us to navigate in our life journey of searching for meaning. Courage! It’s me Jesus tells us. After fear, anxiety, and the lockdown, the new face of the Church and the transformed church members will emerge. Take the map! Hold to it, navigate!