Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

This particular time can be one that brings anxiety and fear.  For some, this may be the first time that you are in an environment that is distant from loved ones and friends.

Leaving the security of what is familiar can be unsettling and stir about fear within us.  We may not sleep as peacefully as we once did; we may miss that comfort of a sweet “goodnight” that has been common to our daily life. We may even be feeling vulnerable in a new country.

But there is a sense that we have a purpose to accomplish, or we would not be here.  You and I look forward to the day when we get to the mark of finally seeing the long hours of work, sweat and tears pay off.

This upcoming weekend we listen to the words of the Prophet Isaiah when he reveals the words that God spoke to his people. “Thus says the LORD: Say to those whose hearts are frightened, be strong, fear not! Here is your God.”

It seems that we experience the same sense of disconnect that the people of Isaiah’s time did.  God says that he will care for their every need and that he is the one to save them with “divine recompense and vindication.”

There will be times this semester and in the next five weeks – most especially for the incoming students – that you will be ready to throw in the towel and quit.

This is the time told hold on, take a firm grip and trust in the words of the prophet when God said, “He comes to save you.”

You may not be getting along with your new roommate, your professor may be difficult to understand and you may have mounting personal problems to add to all the new experiences that you have before you.

When you feel at wit’s end and are frayed beyond recognition, STOP and be still. “He comes to save you.”

The Gospel reminds us that Jesus came to fulfill the words of the prophets, and when Isaiah told of this saving help he spoke of this Gospel we will read Sunday.

Jesus dared to go where no other man dared go.  Jesus went in the darkest recesses of the lowliest places to sit and comfort those who were fearful, cast from society and looked upon with an arrogant stare of inflated self-value.

There is also an interesting point in the Gospel when “people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.”

“People” are you and me and we are the man the people brought.  We fit the billing of both.

Gannon University is the “people;” our community is “the people.”  I can tell you firsthand that this experience can be the most fulfilling time of your life.  There is a wonderful healing community here at Gannon.

There are people that you may not yet know who will be there for you in the most difficult of times.  I can attest to the fact. I have discovered a treasure of love that only stories are told of, and so will you.  That doesn’t mean that this experience will come and go without pain and suffering.

There will be days when you will feel like you can’t go on, and that is when you must remember the words the prophet spoke to his people – you and me. “Be strong, fear not! Here is your God; he comes with vindication; with divine recompense he comes to save you.”

There is also a chunk of gold in the message of St. James as he reminds us not to just satisfy the lofty, but remember the one who is lowly.

What does that mean?  We must remember that the inclination of humanity is to be attentive to those who “have” rather than the “have-nots,” because we want to be on the popular side of the street.

Jesus didn’t care about doing what was popular. He cared about the soul and well-being of all those he met.

There will be a moment or two when you will have to decide what side of the street you wish to live on, the popular side or the just side. You may very well miss the gold heart for the gold ring.

My prayer for each and every member of the Gannon community is that we are all blessed with a deep sense of God’s divine presence.  We are loved by Christ. Now, go love like him.

 

ROB LOPEZ

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