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To bump with love

Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ

People bump into each other everyday. According to one study, at an average of a 78-year lifespan, and assuming that we bump into three new people daily, at the end of our lifetime, we should have met a total of 80,000 people. Think about it. Just imagine the potential of making a difference into the lives of these people. That’s a wonderful and awesome contribution to God’s Kingdom!

The four Gospels are awesome stories of Jesus’ encounter with countless people. And everybody that bumps into Jesus would always be healed. They would leave with happy thoughts. They met God through Jesus. When someone encounters Jesus, healing would definitely take place. He makes a difference in our lives each time we encounter him, even in our prayers.

In one of the Gospel readings from the Gospel of Luke (7: 11-17), we see an encounter between Jesus and a certain widow. The periscope was all about an encounter of two groups: the group of Jesus and the group of the poor widow. Both were being followed by a huge crowd. But the two groups have different dispositions and destinations. Jesus and his disciples were on their way to another village; the widow and her friends were on their way to the cemetery. It was a contrast of life and death.

The first group was a jubilant crowd. After Jesus healed the centurion’s slave (Luke 7:1-10), the crowd was ecstatic and overwhelmed by their experience. On the other hand, the widow’s group was deeply grieving. She had just lost her only son. She was in pain and broken, but her companions could not do anything about it.

But when the two crowds accidentally bumped into each other at the city gate, everything changed instantly. When Jesus saw the funeral procession and the poor widow, mercy and compassion flooded his heart. He was moved to do something to ease the pain of the poor widow.

At that moment of bumping into each other at the city gate, the two groups found themselves united and connected with each other with one purpose: they wanted to help the widow. Plus the fact that Jesus moved their hearts when he touched the bier of the dead man and said to the widow, “Don’t cry. Your son will live.” At that moment, the crowd was transformed into a caring community.

But what’s the difference between a crowd and a community? A crowd is a group of people bound together by space and time. On the other hand, a community is group of people bound together by one common, noble purpose. In our Gospel, the two groups’ point of convergence was their common sympathy to the widow.

But what about us? Are we part of the crowd or are we part of a community? We bump into each other every day in many gates, corners, and hallways of our lives, but most of the time, we could only say “Hello” or “How are you?” We don’t make a difference into each other’s life. There’s no depth. No warmth. No relationship. But why?

There are three possible reasons:

First, we remain a crowd up to this time. We are not a community yet.

Second, cura personalis is not yet our way of life.

Third, we don’t see each other as extensions of ourselves.

We claim that modern communication brings us closer, but the irony is, we don’t really communicate and relate. There are countless ways of sharing our thoughts and information through social media, but the meeting of hearts is absent. We remain strangers to each other. We don’t cross the bridge to meet someone. We build walls to isolate ourselves from others. We think so much of ourselves and less of others. In the end, we become less sensitive to needs of others, especially those who are living in the peripheries.

God wants us to become a Good Samaritan, always willing to help those who are wounded along the road. God wants us to be merciful and compassionate. Let’s ask Jesus to recreate and reform our hearts like his.

If we are destined to meet 80,000 new persons in our lifetime, let’s touch them with our words and deeds. Let’s be kind to them, for this could be your first and last time to make a difference in their lives.

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