A missionary lost his was in a jungle in Africa. Losing one’s way in such a thicket was certain death. Nothing around him but bush and trees and strange noises. Luckily he came across a native who was ready to take him to his destination. So the native started leading the way, hacking his path through the unmarked jungle. An hour passed and then another hour. The missionary started getting worried. “Are you quite sure this is the way? Where is the path?” The native calmly answered, “Bwana, in this place there is no path. I am the path.”
Jesus Christ made that claim many years earlier. He claimed that He was the way towards Life. And He was right. He is the real road to eternity.
Arthur Stace of Sydney Australia was gripped by the thought that people without Christ are destined for a lost eternity. So he would rise early in the morning and chalk the word eternity on the pavement throughout the city. Eventually he became known as ‘Mr. Eternity’! Many people responded to his humble ministry by going back to Church.
What is beautiful about our eternity is that it will be a personalized eternity. We are known and loved by name. One day a preacher arrived at a country church and was introduced to a choir member. He asked her what she did. “I keep pigs,” she replied. “How many do you have?” he inquired. Without hesitation she answered, “A hundred and ninety-two at the moment.” Laughingly he responded, “Really? Are you certain of that?” With indignation she retorted, “Of course I am sure, I have got names for all of them, haven’t I?”
Imagine knowing the names of 192 pigs. But why not – if you regard them with the fondness that woman had for her herd? If a normal woman can name 192 pigs, I am sure God can do better!! We may be tempted to think that the Almighty God, who upholds galaxies upon galaxies, can’t possibly be concerned about us and our problems. We are wrong. God knows us by our names. He even knows the number of our hair! “Look at the birds of the air… Are you not of more value than they?” God is big enough to care for our smallest need.
Sorry to say, many people have the wrong idea of God. I met a beautiful young adult who was critical of all religious activities that we do because, she claimed, that we do them – prayer, mass, spiritual reading, study the Scriptures – as safety devices to prevent God from zapping us or simply for personal gain or approval.
“My 17-year-old daughter Julie and a co-worker at a department store were meeting for lunch. He had some questions about life, and Julie was glad to talk to him about her faith. As they sat down with their tacos, Julie bowed her head to thank the Lord for her food. When she looked up, her friend said, ‘I didn’t pray. Will God kill me for that?’ This is how many people view God.”
The good news is that Jesus Christ is a friend who knows us well. He even knows all our faults and still loves us. Now that is really awesome!
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.