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A Rediscovery Of Christ


Christ, by Heinrich Hofmann via Wikipedia

Christ, by Heinrich Hofmann
via Wikipedia

In January, 1990, I met an interesting man in the Old City of Jerusalem. We will call him Santo, about 37 years old, a native of Naples, Italy. Being a worker in the US Navy shipyards, Santo spoke excellent English. At breakfast one morning, in the Franciscan Hospice where we stayed, Santo shared with our little group some of his life story. At the age of 16, he left home to travel through the world for the next 20 years, always searching for happiness, fulfillment and a peace of heart.

He had gone through several marriages. Nowhere could he find what he sought. Back in Naples, he witnessed his sister’s courage in her suffering through a terminal sickness. Santo saw where she found her strength, in the Lord Whom he had known as a boy. He turned to prayer at this time and began to find a quietness, a peace in his spirit that he had never experienced in all his years of traveling.

At much sacrifice, my new friend had come to Jerusalem to pray and deepen his faith in this Jesus of Nazareth. Joining our little group, all of us strangers just a few days earlier, Santo went with us to the various holy places in and around Jerusalem. As I offered Mass in these shrines, I noticed the devotion of this young man, kneeling on the cold floors of the Churches and Chapels, his eyes closed, in silent communion with His Lord.

Jesus said, “No one who comes to Me will ever hunger or thirst.” People, all of us, are like Santo, hungering and thirsting for peace, courage to face life, and experience a sense of fulfillment in our vocation in life. Santo never felt that until he rediscovered the Christ of his boyhood.

We can begin by thinking of the Eucharist which brings this Lord into our hearts. See in this Holy Bread, the beginning of a deep attachment. Christ did not hold anything against Santo from past happenings. He accepted my friend completely and wholeheartedly into His close friendship.

Santo acted as a sign to me from God, with God saying, “See what I can do for My friends if they trust and love in Me?”

Fr. George Mc Kenna

September 26, 2015 - Posted by | Bulletins | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Thank for all sermons, shared.

    Comment by Tom Dubrick | September 26, 2015 | Reply

  2. Father McKenna, I’ve never known anyone more devoted to God than you,
    I know Jesus in you comes thru,
    with his grace,
    in your smiling face,
    always willing to hear
    words of praise or fear,
    God stands by your side,
    with the holy spirit as your guide,
    the world has been blessed with your life,
    you’ve taught to learn to appreciate and deal with strife,
    you’ve taught that in life God is all you need and ample
    and you’ve lived your life as a perfect example.
    Just like Francis the pope,
    you give people meaning and hope.
    With much admiration, Deb

    Comment by Anonymous | September 29, 2015 | Reply

  3. Hi Fr. George (see, I am catching up on your posts this AM!)… that is a beautiful story of Santos and his rediscovery of Jesus and the power of prayer. I too, was away for many years (20 years) and in returning, I have such a deep connection and love of Jesus and especially of our Eucharistic Lord. Now, I will try, at al costs, to not miss mass – when, in my younger days, I had to drag myself to church and thought nothing of missing for a trivial reason – and then, due to what a priest had advised me, I instead turned away from church and God. I’m so thankful that I didn’t leave this earth during the times that I was not in contact with my Lord and with such mortal sins on my soul. You and my own mother saw to it that I returned and I am eternally grateful to the Holy Spirit for getting me in touch with you (via the Midway Airport chapel) and your eventual guidance and friendship.

    This fellow that you spoke of above, Santos, had a tragic event that drew him closer to his Lord – the terminal illness of his sister. I think that happens a lot – when we are going along, all things smooth sailing – we tend to put God on the back burner.

    Thank you for always knowing the perfect words to say to make any story that you tell us applicable to our own lives. You are a master with words!

    Love,
    Nancy

    Comment by Nancy Kolember Westvang | October 25, 2015 | Reply


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