Recently, Pope Francis asked that we spend our time building bridges rather than walls.  Walls are built to separate – and to enclose. When we build walls, we construct prisons; prisons to keep people and ideas apart.  Over the centuries, many governments and institutions have been busy about building walls – making it difficult to foster human growth; we suffocate the very life out of people in order to protect the status quo or the status of those addicted to power. We create blasphemy laws and attempt to burn the heretics at the stake. We have crucified prophets and attempted to quell the life of the Spirit of Life. We have created walls of steel, concrete, and fear in our misguided attempts to stifle that spirit of life that has been present for more than 17 Billion years. We read in the Book of Genesis that  the Creator God has given human beings the gift of consciousness and freedom; inviting us to be co-operators or co-creators as creation continues it’s inexorable movement forward.

In listening to Simon and Garfunkel, they seem to have captured the message of the Gospel and the wisdom of Pope Francis in his request to build bridges. We need to move beyond excluding others and work to become inclusive; inviting and welcoming others, who add to the richness of who we are. When we are inclusive and welcoming, we enrich each other with new ideas; new visions and create a world of both/and in place of one of either/or. The either/or world is so limiting – it is a world of darkness and death. We see ourselves and others only in isolation and fear. Love is more than passion; it feeds the body, the mind and the spirit of others as we also are fed.

When individual join gangs, they join communities of welcome. These communities are filled with death and darkness, but nonetheless, they find a place where they find relationships. The world is filled with gangs and institutions that breathe the air of death; they are filled with darkness. We as a faith community are called. We are called to be apostles of light and life. Over the years, our church community has pushed people away; denied them food and drink; denied them relationship. We have all too often set the example for governments, nations and institutions to follow; we have proclaimed death instead of life by the way we have lived.

Loneliness is the sense of being separated from life itself; empty and in the dark when no one cares. Death is the only reality that they know and live. We are called to moved into the light – to understand that, indeed we are called to be disciples of life; healing the sick, feeding the hungry and giving living water to the thirsty. But first we have to find this Spirit of life within ourselves and then throughout all of creation. We are connected.

When you’re weary, feeling small

When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them

I’m on your side, oh, when times get tough

and friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water,

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over troubled wat3r

I will lay me down;


When you’re down and out

When you’re on the street

When evening falls so hard

I will comfort you

I’ll take your part, oh, when darkness comes

and pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will lay me down

Like a bridge over trouble water

I will lay me down

These are the words of Jesus, as translated by Simon and Garfunkel and endorsed by Pope Francis and the peace workers everywhere.




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