The other night I ran into my neighbour coming home. Both she and a friend were out for coffee, and her friend had written down the bible verse “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:28-30). For what ever reason she wrote it, she felt she had to do something with it. And on their way out of the coffee shop, she went and gave it to a woman behind the counter. The woman’s reaction to the note was of joy and thanksgiving “I needed to hear this today”.
As I considered this wonderful encounter between my neighbour’s friend and a complete stranger, I thought of the image of the father in the parable of the prodigal son (Lk. 11:15-32) , who “while he (the prodigal son) was yet at a distance, saw him and had compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” It is an image so beautiful! The father running to the son who turned his back on his home and family, who wasted all that he had, and who ruined himself. The father running for all the joy in the world, that his son who “was dead, is alive again…was lost, and is found.”
This is our Lord, who runs to us. Who ever we are, and what ever situation we are in.
That when we “come to ourselves” and realize our poverty and change our heart to walk towards Him, He sprints to us. It is in the mysteries of the Church, His Body and Blood offered for us, and to us at the Eucharist, in the anointing of oil for the sick, in the remission of sins in confession, in the water of our baptism. Real and present, running to us.
But we in turn ought to run with him, bear witness of His love. As He comes to us, we ought to go to the world around us. Not as walking billboards, or advertisements of how great Jesus is, but as witnesses that our God loves, and loves us eternally, no matter our past, or our present. This is our joy, and our joy to share, like that note passed across the counter of a coffee shop.