To The Ends Of The Earth
by Maria Franco
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“I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalms 16:8
Long distance relationships have always had its own grace, charm, mystery and victorious angle to it because in such a relation, emotions play the strongest role in keeping two people together in love and wins greater respect in the eyes of the world to know that people can maintain and strengthen the united bond between them even whilst away from the other as they follow each other’s heart to the ends of the earth until the day they meet once more in the nearest closeness never to be apart. Such a love is worth saluting where feelings keep growing with the passing of days and distance is a non specific word which can neither interfere with nor end any relationship.
I recall once watching a movie where the lead pair at a crucial parting moment remarks that it is wise to never say goodbye in life because it squashes all hope of a future meeting. It is much more easier on the heart to say that we shall meet again. Perhaps this is the most promising factor in long distance love because the hope of coming back again makes every passing day worth living for.
We all know that right from the time of Jesus’ ministry, he spelled out the promise of a return.
When he strongly announced that he could re-build the Temple of Jerusalem in three days if it were to be raise to the ground referring to his own resurrected return to the time when he told his disciples that he would rise again on the third day, his words clearly indicated that he would never be far away from his chosen people.
Even at his resurrection, when Peter & John rushed to the tomb on hearing the news, we see that the linen cloth which was used to fold the head of Christ at his burial was neatly folded and kept at the same place where his head lay which according to the Jewish custom clearly pointed out to a return by the person who had used it as compared to the other linen clothes which were used to wrap his body.
We know that the ends of this earth is not enough to hold love in its grandest experience. When Saul encountered the Risen Lord on his way to Damascus and was struck by lightning, it was not a long distance encounter from heaven to earth but a face to face meeting which converted the Christian persecuting Saul to a Christian converting Paul.
Today we probably see our Christian relationship as a long distance call from earth to the heavens above but in reality it is nothing but a close distance union between the Lord and us where He came back to earth again in the form of the Eucharist so that we can touch him in our hearts. He is so very close to us.
When Jesus referred to Queen Sheba having traveled from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, he concluded by saying that she would condemn this present generation because they had the Wisdom of God himself present amongst them, physically in front of them without them moving a bit from their own place and yet they refused to believe.
It is said that sometimes we so much miss our loved ones who are far away from us that we wish we could pluck them from our dreams and hold them tight and close to our hearts. In the first place, the thought itself joins us together. It is human nature to miss those whose names are inculcated into the beats of our hearts. We wish for so many things in life, so many possibilities and realities across the expanse of the clouds but really only one is needed and that is to live in their hearts and even at times when physical proximity is not possible, it is the soulful closeness that matter all so much because this is the closeness which will travel beyond the ends of the earth into the twinkling realms of heaven. When we long for the presence of our departed ones, if we listen gently, we can feel their spirit close to us, a physical encounter maybe impossible and seem long distance from earth to heaven but a spiritual meeting is very close if we can understand how they watch over us from above.
Just as Martha & Mary longed to have their brother back with them even after his death and their strong faith was rewarded with the Lord raising Lazarus from the dead, this was the most spectacular back to life relationship of any human being from heaven to earth with a continuation of mortal life because one day Lazarus would eventually die a second mortal death just like any other human person. In contrast, the assumption of the Blessed Mary od from earth to heaven by the power of God and the Lord’s ascension on his own are heaven sealing experiences where the gap between land and sky was bridged in an instant.
The three wise kings traveled from the far ends of the earth to see the King of heaven born on earth. If we undertake a journey to any corner of this earth, we will surely find him present everywhere but when we find him, we do not keep him for ourselves only but we rather fulfill his wish of making disciples of all nations to the ends of the earth and as the Lord has pledged to be always with us. We read in Zephaniah 3:17; “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
We know there is never any long distance relationship between hearts but only close calling, heart merging and soul joining relationships which outdo even physical closeness at times. Just as the Lord said that when he goes away, we will not be left alone and he will come back to us, similarly whichever end of the earth we are situated in, we never really go away from those whom we love and even if we leave physically, we return back to them one day in the closest relationship of hearts until the day we traverse the longest distance to reach our destined home in the joys of heaven where we shall all live together close to the heart of our loving Savior.
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