I am a person who gets lost easy , so the Camino experience is God calling me in the darkness, literally, to guide people who are lost. I was walking alone in absolute darkness early this morning when I came upon a young woman lost, looking for the actual camino. I did the best I could and pointed her toward the camino. Lo and behold, I saw her and a young man , about a half hour later , bewildered as to whether they were actually on the camino. I know what it’s like to be lost, carrying a 25 pound backpack and being filled with fear in a strange country.
I stopped and tried to point to actual yellow arrows and shells. So I had them walk with me and when I pointed out a yellow arrow painted on back of a sign ( so easy to miss) their faces lighted up with huge smiles. I spoke as best as i could telling them to keep their eyes wide open for the many ways these yellow arrows and shells are hidden. And walking with flash lights in the pitch darkness can be frustrating and fearful, especially for a young woman in her early twenties.
I was called in the darkness to stop on my journey and be a guide for two strangers who needed me to stop.
Frequently, our God calls us to stop what we are doing and help a stranger in need. We miss out on the call if we don’t look up at the person and see their face and eyes. What I allowed myself to see was two people who wanted to be reassured.
Dorothy Day once said that if you can’t see God in the stranger than you are an atheist !!! She certainly was bold and not afraid to speak her mind. Jesus had that knack to see in the stranger and outcast the dynamic presence of God. He was a threat to so many as was so evident in today’s Sunday gospel when both the herodians and the Pharisees tried to trap jesus in speech. They wanted to “pull him down” so to speak , so that his words and witness would be diminished, losing their power to change minds and hearts. Oh, how we love the status quo…
He is “calling” us…YOU, to let God enter life in surprising ways. Sometimes God calls in the darkness of the pre-dawn time when that darkness is at its darkest; or God calls in the darkness of suffering and grief to let go of the weight of the sadness; sometimes God calls in the darkness of loneliness, leading us to forge new relationships; sometimes God calls in the darkness of fear, begging us trust that we will make it.
In the first reading God called Cyrus to lead the people; God called him, giving him title and purpose, and Cyrus had NO idea he was even being called!! Mysterious!
Paul reminded the Thessalonians that they were called by God to live the gospel and proclaim it with their very lives. It was the mysterious presence of the Holy Spirit that empowered them to speak the language of the Gospel v
Yes, the mysterious call of God fills the readings and liturgy. That call seemed to fill my camino journey today beginning in the mystery of darkness. We will never be able to plan or foresee God’s call. We have to be open to how God may be calling us in our own unique life situations. The calculating Herodians and Pharisees had no power to suppress the call of God. May we, or our Church , never try to be so calculating.
The same Holy Spirit that so influenced the Thessalonians is calling us to surrender to the mysterious Call of God. Buen Camino. Fr. Frank