Most Sundays as I look out into the nave I can see glimmers of young children wobbling around, well out of arms reach of their Mom and Dad, gaining certainty and stability with their new found skills one baby step at a time. The more they practice, the less they fall down and the more they mature. And not to worry, the security of Mom and Dad are always within eyesight and ready to leap into action with a warm embrace if the need arises!
The infant years are a time when parents have the most influence on setting a child on the road to righteousness. As time passes quickly by, baby steps turn into running, bicycling and then onto driving. The teenage years seem to help lance the attachment of their umbilical cord and our baby has now developed into a mature adult. Mom and Dad are no longer within eyesight but can still be reached by phone or a visit when needed. You and I are children of God, still wobbling a bit every now and then.
After warming ourselves at the feet of Christ, we too, just like the man in the Gospel reading today, are sent back out into the world sharing the light of Christ in a dust dry well of darkness, maturing in our faith. My path to mature as a Christian has been one of countless baby steps and many falls and bumps. Now days I find that I try to keep a close watch on my Father rather than jumping into the emptiness of the vast ocean of unbelief and being blown away like the leaves of fall by the winds of life-storms. But I ask myself, am I salty enough to make a difference within the depths of atheism which is choking this great nation? And am I warm and selfless enough to share the love of Christ with those God has dropped along my walk in life?
In the Gospel the man whom was overcome with a legion of demons now was delivered from that torment. The healed man was now safe in the warmth of Christ, sitting at His feet. How I too yearn to feel that warmth, that closeness, that wholeness! We who are on this salvific journey have come to realize that there are times we too feel that warm presence and then there are also times we feel the cold bitter wind of the world, chapping at our skin. And during these cold distant times we may feel alone and unstable at times, just as an infant learning to walk. But just like a watchful parent rest assured Christ is not far, ready to leap into action and intercede on our behalf.
Our willingness to reach out or step up when we are needed is what our Father asks of each of us. Forgetting about our wobbly legs and finding stability in His promise. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”(Isaiah 41:10) And it is then in times of faithful service that we feel the warm embrace of the great Sheppard and we are reminded of His words of action: “Be feeding My sheep.” [Jn. 21:17] After all, what else were you created for?