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OUR FRANCISCAN BREAD FOR THE POOR ROOFTOP GATHERING

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If your brother sins against you,
go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.
If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.
If he does not listen,
take one or two others along with you,
so that ‘every fact may be established
on the testimony of two or three witnesses.’
If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church.
If he refuses to listen even to the church,
then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.
Amen, I say to you,
whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven,
and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Again, amen, I say to you,
if two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

Many people today, including some of my dearest friends call themselves Buddhist.  Going “within” is definitely a great place to visit in our hectic world.   It’s also been a big part of our Catholic tradition.  Great saints such as Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross are just two examples in the plethora of mystics in our Catholic family.  Humans innately search for the connection with the divine spark of God that is profoundly present in all of us – Jesus being no exception.  Jesus teaching us how to fan the fire of God.

But at its heart, Christianity is first and foremost about the experience of God in the other, in relationships, in community, especially, the Church community.  Jesus and his disciples were an extroverted group looking out into the world they lived in with service being their primary vision.  Certainly, it is that outward thrust of service and love to “the other” that attracts so many to following and loving St. Francis of Assisi.   For Francis, the gathering of two or more meant sharing the human and divine spark of life.  The laughter, the singing and the companionship of two or more gathered together was unmistakably God’s spark igniting and catching fire in the world.  We Christians are not navel gazers.  We may look within to connect with and fan God’s flame but, always done with a lens for sharing that fire of God with everyone we meet.

Indeed, where two or three or more are gathered together in the name of Jesus, He is there precisely because we are there.