In my last blog I wrote of a bullying incident that occurred at our local park. As disturbing as it was to witness that act of violence, that evening took a positive turn—one that reinforces the purpose of our existence: seeing each other as a child of God and learning to love one another as we do ourselves.
Soon after I sat down to watch my two adult sons play co-ed baseball with the rest of my family, a young man came over to us and sat down to talk while his dad played as pitcher for the opposing team. The young man’s name was Alex. He has Down Syndrome. He captivated us with his lively stories, and tugged at our heart strings when he started to cry as he recounted the recent death of his grandfather.
Alex reminds me very much of a young man in our parish, Jake. During Mass on Sundays we watch Jake as he makes the rounds during the Sign of Peace, walking up and down the aisles to shake the hands of all those whom he can stretch to reach. And after receiving Communion, Jake will hug the priest and lovingly pat those he knows on the way back to his seat. Both of these boys radiate pure, unadulterated love.
Jesus commanded us to love one another. Yet all too often these days we see so many people who are alienated from their loved ones or friends because of another’s refusal to forgive and to begin to love again. If there is one family member or friend who is torn apart by someone else’s unwillingness to forgive, than that is one too many.
Our priest summed up his homily this past Sunday by reminding us that we are all on a treasure hunt for love. But we don’t have to look any further than our own backyards. For that pure love comes from our families, our friends, our community and even in the hearts of the strangers we meet. We just have to open our eyes to see that it’s been there all along.
Photo by: Tomasz Markowski