Finding God on Gannon’s campus

This weekend’s first reading opens  with the words, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release prisoners, to announce a year of vindication by our God.”

The first thing we often think is that surely our dear Lord has not called us to do his work at Gannon University.  It must be a far off distant land that is miles from any source of running water and no comforts of civilization.

Maybe that’s true; often times we overlook the need right here under our noses.  The vineyard is so big that it covers the entire earth and, yes, Gannon is part of the vineyard.

So the task is being awake! I have to be on watch for the opportunities that are presented to me on a daily basis. I can’t escape the call to serve.

The Lord sends his spirit upon us and, in doing, so enables us to do the work that he has placed in our path.

Perhaps your friend is going through the biggest personal struggle of his life and he needs to talk, but, you have to write a 10-page report.  What do you do? How do you handle that?

Life does not neatly plan out a crisis to conveniently fit into our daily schedule.  The mission of the disciple is one that promises a crown of thorns and a lot of suffering.

How do you proclaim the message of hope? It’s not only the most important message but one that gets pushed out by the noises of the world.

I used to think about why John the Baptist preached in the desert.  I thought, what a silly place to go to and preach hope.

But in the desert I see the vast empty land that shows no signs of mercy and that this is precisely where mercy is discovered.  The place that is the most desolate is the place that draws the Christ to enter in the public mission.

The desert is a place that gives us the opportunity to discover the message without any distractions.

The loss of a loved one is a desert.  The end of a relationship is a desert.  The parents who are challenged by their children find a desert.  The child who struggles to fit in with classmates encounters a desert. The struggles of those searching for their identity discover the desert.

Then, placing our lives in the desert, we sit and wait in the wilderness, a place that can be scary and difficult to go through.  We sit and wait to hear, “The voice of one crying out in the desert, make straight the way of the Lord.”

Whose voice do we hear? Well, we know that the Christ comes to John the Baptist, but how does Christ come today to you at Gannon?

We are the voice of the Baptist here and now to all those who are in the darkest moments of their life.

We are the ones to bring glad tidings to those who are held captive, not in a foreign land, but right here.  The captivity of prejudice and hate envelope people every day.

We are called to change them by proclaiming, and proclaiming doesn’t necessarily mean beating someone into submission with scripture and belief; proclaiming means to live love.

The way we live our life is a message of love. There will be times when we look for that lighthouse to land safely, or perhaps we are so distracted that we cannot hear the words of truth, so we look to see where to go, and sometimes that place is a desert.

I pray that we can be that voice to call out in the desert and show the way to the captive, to the prisoners, to the brokenhearted and be Jesus for each other.

During this Advent Season, find time away from your busy schedule and sit in the quiet and be still. Remove the distractions and listen for his voice to call your name.

Remember, “The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me.” God loves us and calls us each by name.


[email protected]