I’m just back from a brief vacation, and I have to say that I was thoroughly absorbed in what I saw and heard all week long. All of what I saw or heard was commentary on Psalm 85. 11, 13, which is part of today’s responsorial psalm – people working together, the land being generous in its produce:
Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
The Lord himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
I saw this psalm in apparently isolated incidents last week, like the rainbow in the water below as the storm clouds gathered in the south. Yes. A rainbow in the water is something I had never seen before. God’s rainbow can be anywhere that it can remind us of God’s saving ways, his benefits, as the psalm says. Then there were the vineyards on the hillsides, in that part of their summer growth where they send tendrils up into the sky, reaching up to embrace the sun, the rain and the future.
The serenity of the Finger Lakes is good for the soul. So is the outcome of the drama in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.
What started out as an adventure for 12 Thai youth and their coach could have ended in complete tragedy. But all 13 were found and rescued, as were the doctor and the last divers in the cave. While I mostly prayed for the 13 and the international crew involved in the rescue, my mind occasionally drifted off to see this whole event as a metaphor for our own lives.
We travel with others, and sometimes deviate from the beaten path with colleagues whom we have chosen or who have been given to us. We encourage one another to try this turn, this opening. We adventure into the unknown, and unknown to us, the waters rise and entrap us.
We are confounded by deep water and darkness, poised on a ledge awaiting what? We don’t know. We are between hope and despair. We cannot rescue ourselves, but must depend on the skill and resources of others who don’t know us, but who care deeply for human beings without distinction.
Scenes like these help us realize at a very deep level that we are in God’s hands as well as in the hands of others to see us through. We need them to swim with us out of the caves where we have voluntarily gone, but which have entrapped us. And what will we do afterwards? To what will we commit ourselves after surviving a potential tragedy of our own making? Will we dare go to the next people trapped in one of life’s caves and help in whatever way we can? Or will we take the new life given to us and hoard it? What virtues will kiss in our life? What increase will be in us for the glory of God?
~Sister Joan Sobala