All of America is in mourning at this moment. Not just because a man was murdered before our eyes. We are in mourning for the America that was. Who we were before the pandemic, the people we used to be. I’m sad that we may never truly be as truly free as we once were. Remember seeing smiles you would from perfect strangers? Passersby? Now we have words like the “new normal”. Masked people sometimes scowl with their eyes. People are highly irritable and it is breaking my heart. Little kids are lonely and want to play with their friends. People have lost their minds and their tans. Including me a black woman. What the hell!
I don’t know what the future holds for us. I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t believe in crystal balls anyway. I’m happy to be able to go to church again. Even though the atmosphere seems a little too sterile because of all the masks. No one can sit next to anyone outside of their families. I really miss the beautiful faces of my fellow parishioners. Their eyes still sparkle though. I love that.
A moment ago an old song came on Spotify. It’s called “What If God Was One Of Us” sung by Joan Osborne. It got me to thinking about my Sunday Mass. Jesus did that. Sometimes He just makes things so clear. He made Himself one of us by being born of the Virgin Mary and becoming a man. Can you imagine Him sitting nine feet from you at church? Would we practice social distancing from Jesus? A woman was healed from just touching His robe!
Many years ago I would take a bus to downtown Houston to go shopping at Joske’s mostly. Along the way, at one stop, an older man got on and sat down next to me. I was nervous and uncomfortable because he was unkempt. He also had a slight odor to him. All I could think about was ‘I hope he gets off soon so I won’t have to sit next to him all the way to downtown’. I scooted closer to the wall of the bus making sure not to accidentally touch this old man.
So this song comes on today and I think about that old man and I think about Jesus. Most men didn’t have combs and showers back in the days of Jesus. By my standards Jesus Christ Himself would have been unkempt. Then comes the part of the song “Just a slob like one of us. Just a stranger on a bus trying to make His way home” Wow! Is that how I treat Jesus? The way I treated that old guy when I rode the bus. Do I treat Jesus that way today? Do I coil away in fear when He is near me? Am I social distancing from Jesus out of fear? Think about these questions for yourselves. What I learned from these stark comparisons is that I know that Jesus not only wants to sit next to me he wants a pure intimacy with me as well! It is as if Jesus has been courting my soul for my whole life. That is what our communion or Eucharist is all about. He wants to be a part of us and for us to be a spiritual and physical part of His divine body.
If Jesus came and sat next to you a little dirty and a little smelly would you coil away from him as I did that little old man? We must recognize Jesus with our spiritual eyes. In His own day, many did not recognize who Jesus was as is the case today. Many still don’t. That’s because they don’t have the eyes of someone who is in Christ. Or they are attached to their sin. Indeed sin does give you a social distance from Christ. Why are Christians so afraid when Jesus told us to fear not!? Maybe it’s because we all know that we are sinners. Yet Jesus loves you and me anyway. Don’t allow your sin to keep you away from Jesus. He’s there to forgive us in spite of ourselves. Go to church. Sit down and pray, ‘God I know I’m a sinner and I’m sorry’. And then you will experience the most indescribable mercy and love that to this day makes me weep tears of joy when I simply sit down at church. I say that little prayer every time. And then my heart feels like it’s just so full that it may be exploding.
Don’t wait until you are perfect. Jesus will take you just the way you are! He will change you! He will heal you! He will love you! I know He will because I experience His love every day. He will give you the grace to conquer your sin. That’s how He works!
So stop your mourning and live in the moment. The world around you is changing and that makes us fearful. Fear not! Please don’t social distance from our God because he is exactly what you need right now. Saint Mother Theresa was not afraid and she worked with lepers! She still made it to Mass for communion. I’m just saying. Take each day one moment at a time. Be in that moment and talk to Jesus.
Sometimes it takes just a song to remind you of who you really are. Jesus wants you to have peace. Talk to Him like he’s sitting right next to you. Because he is!