Three Places – Salty de la Rama, SJ

John 14:1-6, Friday of the 4th Week of Eastertide

3 places

The first readings on this fourth week of Easter describe the missionary movement of the Apostles towards the gentiles,  as well as towards  places outside Jerusalem.  It seems to fit into the pattern in the public life of Jesus who was constantly on the move – preaching, teaching and healing  with the message: THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.

Walter Brueggemann, in his book, Praying the Psalms, says: “Human beings find themselves in one of three places: a place of orientation; a place of disorientation; and a place of re-orientation.”

Place of Orientation: in which everything is orderly, familiar, normal. The day-to-day life we have become so accustomed to – comfortable, predictable, manageable, reliable.

Place of Disorientation: we feel we have sunk into a pit. It happens when our world collapses around us; we are shell shocked, paralyzed and traumatized. Life, as we know it, has changed in ways such that we no longer recognize it – we are disoriented, dazed, confused, wounded and broken. Life feels unsettled, scary and unpredictable. Disorientation often brings emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain and suffering.

Place of Reorientation: we realize that God has lifted us out of the pit by his saving power, and we are in a new place full of gratitude and awareness about our lives and our God. We have moved out of the unfamiliar into a welcome place. We accept the “new normal”and understand that it is God who has brought us here.

The disciples of Jesus had to go through these places of orientation – being with him in his public ministry; disorientation – experiencing his Jesus’ passion and death; reorientation – witnessing his resurrection and ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit during Pentecost.

If  life is a constant movement among these three places of  orientation, disorientation and reorientation, then this covid-19 pandemic  has put us in a place of disorientation. For us, administrators, teachers, students, parents  and staff of  grade schools, junior high schools, and senior high schools,  we have set our sights on school year 2020-2021 as our place of reorientation.

The movement from disorientation to reorientation is not a place  we arrive at on our own. It is not an achievement; nor something we can force, control or make happen.  The place of reorientation is pure gift. It is God’s grace.  We learn to let go of our expectations and trust in each other and  in God’s providence through the Holy Spirit – inspiring and moving us to a new normal. Believing in our hearts that He has a plan for us all.

Prayer of reorientation:

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you, says the Lord, plans of peace and well- being  and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call on Me and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear (your voice)  and I will listen to you.

Then with deep longing you will seek Me and require Me as a vital necessity and you will find Me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and I will free you and gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place form where I sent you into exile.

Jeremiah 29, 11ff

*image from the Internet

 

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