"A lay Catholic perspective"

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Meeting Jesus on the Road

by John Lewis


A  CERTAIN MAN WAS DRIVING NORTH on Mobile Highway. (If there were a footnote I would explain that Mobile Highway is in the southern Bible belt and is often traveled by red necks.) As I drove along I heard what sounded like a shot behind me. Very shortly, a young man drove past and shouted, "Ya gotta flat tire." I pulled onto the grass beside the road. Immediately the young man reappeared and checked that all was well and that I knew how to change a tire. I assured him of my competence and he left. Promptly another man pulled up and offered to help. He loosened the bolts explaining that they sometimes are very tight. I assured him that I was doing fine, and he left. Thirty seconds later another man came up and completed the tire change for me. I was reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan.[1] I had been blessed by three neighbours; Jesus' message to me is "Go and do likewise." So far so good, but when I went to the store that had sold me the tires orginally they repaired the tire at no charge: make that four nieghbours.

So what is all this unity stuff; and why do good, tire-changing people go to different churches? The problem as identified by the Pope is human sin, which is a rebellion against God's will. I accept the Bible as documentation of God's will and the Catechism as passing on the traditions of God's plan as revealed through his son Jesus Christ. Jesus founded one church and prayed that we be one. Right from the start Saint Paul speaks of discord in the Church in Corinth; John complained of those who spread false teachings; while others were claiming the most important place in the Church. Then came schisms, heresies and separate Churches. When the Pope met with Patriarch Bartholomew they prayed for the unity of all Christians. In their prayers, they have included all the baptized who are incorporated into Christ. If it is good enough for the Pope, it is good enough for me.

I love my brothers in the Lord. I call down a blessing on them. All through my life I have had wonderful friends who inspired me with the witness of their lives. I have found that generalizations lead to misunderstanding. Whenever I hear "of course they do not believe" or "of course they believe" I know that what follows is probably not true. You cannot trust labels. Some whose labels indicate belief in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist do not believe and vice versa. I have to ask each person what they believe. My best experiences of godly fellowship have been wonderful men's breakfast meetings where we discuss Christian life in a friendly atmosphere, each man seeking the truth. I hope they serve breakfast at the Lord's banqueting table.

I give thanks to God for the blessed men with whom I have fellowshipped over the years. Hey Lord, thanks also for the guys who helped change the tire. Help me to do likewise.

[1] cf. Luke 10:25-37