Jesus said, “What is the Kingdom of God like? To what can I compare it? It is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches.”
Home and Heaven are synonymous. And for this reason I very much long for a place to rest my head. I would love to have a place I call home. It is not too often, but sometimes I feel like my space is not my place; that it is only temporary. And it is. One day I will have to move; once again. A repeat performance of so many other moves I have had to make in my life. All for the sake of Christ’s kingdom!
Yesterday I spent an entire afternoon carving pumpkins for four small children. I loved every minute of it! I was spending quality time with a friend and a family I treasure so dearly. But in the end, I had to leave.
As a child I was very fortunate to grow up in a village (not a town) that was predominately Italian, Irish and almost entirely Catholic. All my relatives lived within two or three miles from each other. My best friend was my cousin, and I had many to choose from. I didn’t appreciate it back then. I do now. I never considered it to be something extraordinary, but it is. Too many of our parents, siblings and relatives live in different states or foreign countries. A tree is very homely when it consists of only a trunk and very few branches. The same is true of a family tree. Our life can be a lonely one when there are no extended family members. As a teenager I longed to travel. I have. I have been to many places: Ireland, England, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Mexico, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Philippines, Canada. Now, I wish for a place I can call home.
Of course Skype, e-mails, text messages and phone calls can help to keep us connected. But it will never replace the physical presence, the emotional connection, the sights and smells of living, breathing and loving human beings. These gadgets are obvious counterfeits to the real thing.
The Lord wants us to grow within his family tree. He wants us to be united; to treat each other as brothers and sisters, and not as advantages or opportunities, or possibilities for advancement and special treatment. He wants us to live with each other just as if we were living in our family’s home!
There is not much to gain by being at home; except to grow, and home is a place where I can grow!
This is the reason for our peace. This is the source of security that we all long for. This is the place that I wish for. Home is Heaven. It is like a mustard seed. When fully grown, it becomes a large bush and the birds of the sky dwell in its branches.
This past Sunday, the Holy Father canonized three 19th century founders of religious orders. One of them was Fr. Luigi Guanella. While in Rome, I lived across the street from one of his wonderful hospitals.
While the Holy Father was celebrating the Mass in St. Peter’s square, a young man climbed out onto the upper colonnade of the square and burned a bible. The Vatican gendarmes, a bishop and the pope’s own bodyguard talked the man back from the edge of the colonnade after he shouted, “Pope, where is Christ?” in English.
I find it very ironic that this poor man, who was obviously mentally ill, was asking this question at the same time that Fr. Guanella– a priest that dedicated his life to the poor and mentally ill - was being canonized. Where is Christ? The answer could not be more obvious: in his faithful and holy people; in the Eucharist; in Confession; on the Cross. He is in our home!
Our home can seem awfully far away if we forget who we are, why we are here, where we come from and how we get there. Our family can seem awfully small if we forget our name, our brothers and sisters (the saints), our Mother and our Father in Heaven.
For the past seventeen years of my life I have been on the move, never stopping, not yet reaching port. But I do know my home is where faith flourishes, mercy never ends and love always reigns! My home may very well be a fisherman’s boat.