Grace to you!
You are running late. Every second gained as you drive through the busy traffic to the internist would be very helpful. You don’t want to miss the appointment and risk rescheduling. It took months before you could get an appointment with this doctor. He is one in a million, sought for by everyone.
Unfortunately, there is this crazy driver in front of you. He doesn’t move his car; and when you think he has started to follow the traffic, he forgets himself when the red light turned green. You honked. It was too late. You are stuck again at the red light. By the time the light turned green again, an accident has happened preventing you from reaching your destination in time.
You feel horrible. You feel like calling him out. It seems fair enough. Maybe you did, or by the grace of God, you held your emotions in check. Yet, your frustrations aren’t dismissed with a wave of the hand.
Many road rages happen because of crazy driving. Worse is when, for no good reason, a driver slows the traffic. This can be frustrating, can’t it?
Dealing with human stumbling blocks and barriers in the spiritual life can be frustrating too. My little experiences in the pastoral ministry have opened my eyes to the reality that many believers want to grow more in the spiritual life. They are honestly thirsty for God and want to grow in the practice of virtue.
Many times, they need a guide, a mentor, or a spiritual director to be their partner in this journey. Not many have access to these resources. Nonetheless, they look to hear from fellow believers and Church leaders a sound gospel so as to walk in the light of the Lord. If what they hear sounds discordant, cold and misleading, they tend to be frustrated. Some may lose their faith too.
Too many new members of a parish could find some older believers who may be a roadblock too. They dominate everything happening in the parish and hardly allow others to come in or feel at home. Sometimes, people distance themselves from volunteering in church ministries they care so much about because there are powerful, domineering personalities who have taken those ministries as their birthright. And many times, these persons do a shabby job.
Jesus’ indictment of the scholars of the law during his time could be applied here too: “You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter” (Luke 11:52).
As this reflection isn’t so much about others, but about me, the reader, I hope I am not a stumbling block or a barrier to anyone who wants to serve, to enter, to feel at home in the community of faith. Perhaps, I would know whether others feel welcome when more and more people are getting involved in the ministry, if I am part of the leadership team. Do I see new faces, new blood, wanting to be part of it, while the old ones remain? The answer to these questions could be an eye-opener.
I hope and pray I help to nurture people’s interest in the service of God and community and not damper them. Amen
God love you! God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.