Jesus Lives Among Us

2023년 1월 15일

Jesus Lives Among Us

< Second Sunday in Ordinary Time >

 There’s an old story about a monastery in France that was having difficulties. Even though they were all monks vowed to live together in a prayerful community, they always seemed to be fighting amongst themselves. Some monks complained the food was too fancy for their simple lifestyle. Others thought it was too tasteless and bland. At morning and evening prayers, the older monks complained the younger ones were chanting too fast, while the younger monks, for their part, thought the older monks were so slow, they sounded like they were singing at a funeral. Things got so bad at that monastery that they stopped talking to one another all together unless it was to argue, or worse: gossip. The abbot of the monastery was beside himself. He considered all of them to be good monks, so he neglected to take sides. But this, in the eyes of the monks, made him look like a weak leader.

Then one day they had a visitor from another monastery several miles away. All the monks welcomed him, not only because as Christians they had an obligation to show hospitality, but more importantly, they jumped at the opportunity to go to confession to an outsider who wouldn’t remember who said what. So for the next three days, the monks lined up to confess their sins to this stranger and receive absolution and penance. Oddly enough, the visiting monk listened carefully to each of them, gave absolution, but gave them no word of encouragement or admonition. Finally, the visiting monk prepared to leave them and continue his journey. He stopped at the doorway and called all the monks to gather around him. Then he said, “I thank you for your hospitality and honesty. I want to tell you a secret that, in fact, you taught me. Jesus lives among you in this monastery. But he wears a disguise. And he changes his appearance all the time. He too thanks you for your devotion.” As he walked out the door, he repeated once more, “Jesus lives among you!” Overnight the mood in the monastery lifted. Each monk went out of his way to help others. Best of all, they stopped complaining. Soon, even the local villagers returned to attend Mass and pray with the monks, and a spirit of love and peace soon spread around the town. My brothers and sisters, you are the monks in this story, Fr. Andrew is the abbot, and I am the visitor. I have lived and worked among you for more than 35 years and I can tell you with certainty: Jesus lives among you here. Now let us live our lives as if that were true. Because it is!