There is a story about a small-town priest phoning the Pope and saying, “Jesus is walking down the street in my town. What should I do?”
“Look busy,” the Pope replies.
It is in the ordinary events of everyday life that we miss or meet Jesus. We need to recognize the place where earth meets heaven, where we greet or miss our Lord. The history of salvation “is fundamentally carried out through the humble and demanding paths of reality, in the ordinary rhythm of human life." (Cardinal Parolin).
The story is told about ancient monks who searched the earth looking for the door to heaven. Finally, they found it, the place where heaven meets earth. When they opened the door, they were back at their monastery, where they lived their daily lives.
If Jesus were coming to visit your house tomorrow, what preparations would you make? If we prepare well during Advent or Lent, encountering Jesus at Christmas or Easter is a more realistic expectation. But every time we go to mass, the central event of Easter and resurrection, we receive the real Jesus in a real way.
How do we meet Jesus in this ordinary daily life? Jesus told his disciples to go to a quiet place to pray. When Christ had done a hard day’s work curing, healing and teaching, he got up early next morning and found a quiet place to pray (Mark 1:35). We need to find that deserted spot in our homes so God can give us strength.
Another secret to successful prayer is fidelity. In “Fidelity – Our Greatest Gift to Others,” Father Ron Rolheiser asks us to continue to show up: “Don't ever give up. Don't ever stop going to prayer. As long as you persevere in going to prayer, eventually God will break through.”
Pope Francis identifies four elements of prayer that allow Jesus to enter our daily lives. In Acts 2:42 we read: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Studying the Apostles’ teachings in scripture, gathering in community with fellow Christians, and the breaking of bread constitute our greatest prayer. Going into communion with Christ enables us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to do this action in remembrance of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit enables us to remember and leads us to the fullness of truth of the mystery of Christ at work in the church. We become the sacrament or sign of Christ’s continuing mission in the church. This is where heaven meets earth, and we meet Jesus in the ordinary events of our lives.
The Church prays, works and lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit renews and enlivens the work of the Church – to bring the Good News to all. “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37).
If we are not yet in touch with the Holy Spirit, going to church might be the first step in finding Jesus in our daily lives. The Spirit brings: “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22).
When Jesus left this earth to go to the Father, he left with us the Spirit that renews and enlivens us and all creation. And he sent us to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth.