Written by Sr. Rosemary, O.P.
Readings from http://usccb.org/bible/readings/042120.cfm
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of “Earth Day”, and I think it’s appropriate to pay a beautiful tribute to some of God’s most magnificent creations, the huge redwood trees in California. They are among the oldest living organisms on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some are more than 2500 years old and almost 300 feet high, which is the height of a 35 story skyscraper. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit these trees, you’ve seen and experienced their awesome wonder.
One would think that these huge trees would have a tremendous root system, but that’s not the case. Redwoods have a very shallow root system and only go down 10 feet. Their roots, however, then go outward 80-100 feet so they become intertwined and locked into the roots of the surrounding Redwoods. With this interlocking root system, they support and sustain each other. When storms come and winds blow, these redwoods remain standing. They need one another to survive. https://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/11-facts-about-coast-redwoods-worlds-tallest-trees.html
We, as a community of faith, are also intertwined and need one another in many ways. Without a doubt, we have certainly missed the presence of one another these last weeks and have been diligent and creative in finding ways we can still stay connected to each other. Armed with the latest technology, we are now “livestreaming, zooming, messaging, texting, etc.” more than ever before. These are now our necessary tools to “interlock our roots” so we can stay in touch, share life’s experiences, and continue to build community.
In our first reading from Acts, we hear about the very first community of Christ’s followers. It said “the community of believers was of one heart and mind.” In and with Christ, their hearts and minds were bound together and intertwined as a community of faith. They were becoming Church, their God-given support system.
It wasn’t easy to follow Christ in the first century. Times were tough and persecutions a reality. When trials came, they too stood tall, finding strength in one another. They had a single focus: devoting themselves to the message of Jesus. They lived it out by praying, preaching, and partaking at the Lord’s Table. There were no “lone ranger” Christians. Together they make every effort to be led by God’s Spirit and to think and act like Christ.
We also read that “no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common.” Essential to their life in community was sharing their material goods in order to meet others’ needs, especially those of the poor.
Today our practice of being a faith community is challenged by social distancing. However, we know who we are as Christ’s followers and, motivated like the apostles, we are finding creative ways to worship together at home and with friends, to pray the rosary on our website with other parish families, to pick up food and supplies for the needy and drop them off in the basket by the parish office, and to reach out by phone or letter to others. We are connecting with people on a personal level like never before and developing meaningful relationships, and that can only help us build this gift of community. Spiritual closeness won’t be impeded by social distancing.
Like the roots of those magnificent Redwood trees, may we continue to interlock with each other so that we can strengthen our loving commitment to God, generously serve those in need, and unselfishly support one another through any storm.