I was on the road this week and was greeted by this beautiful rainbow. What promise did this rainbow hold for me? I had grown up with rainbows symbolizing a promise of life having been taught about that great arc which appeared over Noah’s ark. The road I travelled reminds me of my earthly journey through life. The beauty is there to be appreciated but relationships with our fellow travelers are an essential part of it.
Relationships are the colors of the rainbow. Good relationships fill our personal life with love. Louis Armstrong sang, “The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky are also on faces of people passing by. I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do. They’re really saying I love you”.
Colors fade very quickly when we do not have true love for one another. The nature of this earthly journey is that it is fraught with challenges. Throughout life these will create burning friction with one another. Every relationship goes through storms, sometimes it even floods. Love is the balm to cool and soothe the burns. It restores the rainbow after the rain.
“Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ”. (Second reading)
Forgiveness is like a valve in the heart. It must always remain open otherwise the heart cannot give life. Bitterness is to allow ill feelings to fester refusing the balm of life. Bitterness is like a disease that affects the valve. Reconciliation is the cure to this disease. When people say sorry, they’re really saying I love you.
Reconciliation fulfils the promise of new life. It restores us. And from lessons learnt we embrace a new wisdom to navigate the challenges ahead in our relationships. Reconciliation is like yeast in making bread and if we do not get rid of every bit of bitterness, however tiny, the bread of life will not rise in us.
Frankly, relationship IS life. Our daily happiness, inspiration, courage, strength and hope come from happy relationships. But we must first understand the source of the balm that is love. And it comes from God personified in Christ, “forgiving each other as God forgave you in Christ”. He gives us the bread of life. We must eat it. Otherwise we will continue to travel the road of our earthly journey like the walking dead.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus said, “Stop complaining to each other” and then he went on to say, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die”.
Eat the bread of reconciliation and restore our beautiful rainbows. There is truly a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: it is eternal life.
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time