By ARCHBISHOP WILTON D. GREGORY, Commentary | Published April 6, 2017 | En Español
We are now all facing a shared aggravation because of the fiery disaster on I-85. Portions of our city and suburbs are shut off from one another—at least we seem to be separated by the troublesome traffic snarls with which we must contend for the foreseeable future. The distances that separate neighborhoods and communities have grown greater—not physically, but because of travel times. It is difficult not to be close to our schools, jobs, businesses, parishes, relatives and neighbors. None of us knows how long this inconvenience will last, but probably a lot longer than our patience.
With this calamity, we made the national news last week since Atlanta is a very important cog in the travel plans of many people passing through Georgia. Countless folks are currently wondering how they can get through or around Atlanta in their travel preparations.
We don’t like the encounter of separation that this recent event has created. Sin always separates us from God and subsequently alienates us from one another. Next week, we will celebrate the healing event of Christ whose death and resurrection restored humanity’s relationship with God. Christ’s Passion, death and resurrection restores our closeness with God and rebuilds our unity with one another.
We don’t like to be isolated and inconvenienced with travel, and we should be even more agitated when we are separated from God and one another. Our first parents—Adam and Eve—introduced this destructive relationship, but all of us have contributed to the disasters that separate us from God. Sin manifests itself in so many different ways in our lives—with the hatreds, lies, shameful gossip, envy, vengeance, bitterness and all of the other human flaws that torment us.
Christ came to heal us—to fix once and for all the breach that separates us from God and alienates us from one another and to provide a bridge to God’s mercy. During these closing weeks of Lent, I invite all of us to find our way to the sacrament of reconciliation and to get the repair work of our lives started again.
Holy Week symbolically celebrates this salvific event as we reset all of our relationships and begin anew. There is no sinful disaster that Christ’s Passion cannot overcome. There is no personal sin so great for which God’s mercy cannot forgive us. There is no hurt or pain that God’s love cannot soothe and heal. We celebrate with thanksgiving the wondrously generous love that allowed Christ to embrace the cross for us and then rise from the dead to lead us into the Kingdom of His Father.
On Easter Sunday, we will renew our baptismal promises and push the reset button in our relationships with God and with one another.
Over the next several months probably every one of us will be impacted by the traffic slowdown. As we sit in our cars, perhaps doing a slow burn and thinking ungodly thoughts, we should use that time to remember that God Himself waits for us on the other side of Christ’s redemptive act and He beckons us to patiently and faithfully continue to move toward Him in trust. Let’s not be overwhelmed in the traffic of our faults and sins. Christ has found a way of freedom for us all.
Happy Easter, dear brothers and sisters in Christ.