“The journey is our home”
(Jerome Nadal, S.J.)
Soon after I moved from Berkeley, California to San Diego, the Provincial came for his annual visit. After he asked me how I was doing, he inquired as to what I was doing. I was engaged in two ministries at the time: travelling back and forth across the US-Mexican Border to a small parish in the hills and giving parish missions in the San Diego Diocese. “Ah,” he said, “you are living one of the main ways Jesuit live – on the road.”
The prophet, Elijah, was also a traveler. In today’s First Reading, we hear about his “day’s journey into the desert” (a privileged place in Hebrew symbolism for the encounter between God and oneself) where he has a visit from an angel.
The angel touches him and orders him to eat because God has a job for Elijah, a job that involves a journey of 40 days and 40 nights.
Elijah’s journey and the help he received to accomplish it got me thinking about my own journeys – and yours. Who are the “angels” that keep you encouraged and moving forward?
My “angels” are: close friends – fellow Jesuits – this community and the witness of your faith especially when times are difficult as they are now with the variant virus on the move.
I need God’s help on my journeys: graces that free me from my fears and heal me of my spiritual wounds. And taking Jesus’ invitation seriously to take time out to rest and to play in order to recharge my “batteries.”
Above all, I need the Eucharist. I need the ‘bread of life,’ the Bread that Jesus speaks of in today’s Gospel: the bread that “came down from Heaven” True manna. Although God is always present to us, we unite with Jesus in a special way when we receive the Eucharist. In the words of the Psalmist, God invites us to “Taste and See” Divine goodness in the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Sometimes we receive the guidance we need to better live our faith, at Mass. Have you had such an experience?
God of mercy and compassion,
You sent food to strengthen the
prophet Elijah for the journey
to the place where he would
You sent bread to strengthen
Your people in the desert for the
journey to the promised land.
You send us in Christ the Bread of Life
to strengthen us for our journey
on the road of discipleship.
Sustain us in courage, faith, and hope,
That we may one day see you face to face,
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Fr. Max Oliva, S.J.
August 8, 2021