Thought for the week

Prepare a Way for the Lord:

He was in his mid-twenties when I first met him, one fine August day many years ago. A boyish delight on his face when showing me his first car – a Volkswagon Beetle. He had left the Christian Brothers for whom he had the highest regard but could no longer endure petty restrictions. Gerry was a free spirit. A Kilkenny man, and a member of the county hurling panel while teaching in Callan; he had now arrived in the city to take up a post and be near the girl he would later marry.

   Without any posturing, this man had a remarkable effect on his pupils: the respect he showed them, the special care for children from poor families. After school, he set up hurling and football competitions; in winter, he put on concerts.

   But it was the quiet effect he had had on those pupils that was most impressive and, as the scripture says: it is by their fruits you shall know them, (Matt. 7, 16) When his pupils had gone to secondary school or university or to take up employment, they came back to him – if they were in trouble or in doubt, or going through a dark moment in their young lives, they lingered at the school gate until he appeared.

   Gerry (not sure if he was aware of this) was freeing young souls from the nets in which they had been caught. John the Baptist too was doing a similar work (not much good at training a hurling team though!). John was preparing the way for Jesus: freeing the heart to see God as the great theologian, Hans von Baltazar puts it. You don’t have to wear your heart on your sleeve – human goodness is enough.       

Fr William