So instead of being in the Holy Land in sunny, 80 degree weather, I was stuck here in Cleveland as the temperature dropped, the rain came, and the wind blew.
As the Hurricane swept up along the coast we saw images of New York City in the Dark, the Jersey Shore destroyed by waves, and people waiting up to six hours in line to get gasoline.
Maybe some of you even lost your power for an extended period of time. It’s one thing to lose it for a couple of hours, but for some it has been almost a week and they still do not have power. Here’s what I noticed without power. I ended up stumbling around a lot in the dark, I felt disconnected without TV, computer, or phone, and I was very getting very very cold.
I have a couple of friends that had an opportunity to work for a company called “Storm Services.” One of them had done this before when Hurricane Irene passed through Louisiana. The idea is that they are hired to be the drivers and they take a line accessor with them. A line accessor is someone who works for the electrical companies and assesses where and when people have lost power, who has power, and what the damage is. The assessor then reports it to the Electric Company so that they can work at restoring the power.
They spent some time in Boston, but Massachusetts wasn’t really hit hard so they were transferred to Long Island. When they arrived late Friday evening they learned that over 1.1 million people live on Long Island. Over one million of them are without power. So they will begin first thing in the morning and work sixteen hour days driving the assessors around in order to find out who does not have power.
Overnight they will sleepin tractor trailer bunk beds three high on both sides with a walk way down the middle aisle, heat, covers, and a pillow, food tents are set up in the morning for breakfast and for dinner when they come hom. The power companies are trying to do everything they can to restore power, supervise tree trimming crews, and continue to trouble shoot.
They have seen people without power for almost a week now, they have witnessed six hour lines of people waiting for fuel. They told me that the gas stations were limiting people to 10 gallons per vehicle and a one gallon tank for people refilling their generators.
When we lose our power for an extended period of time we can begin to get pretty desperate, confused, panicked, isolated, and helpless.
Now here is the Spiritual Connection. If you were at mass this Sunday and are reading this reflection you probably have some connection with God. God does not desire that we are witout power. God wants us always to be connected to Him and to draw our energy from him.
Jesus says in the Gospel that the greatest commandment is:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
When we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength then we are connected. If we lose our connection, the power goes out, the light goes out, we are left in the dark, cold, isolated, alone, and disconnected.
The story of my friends being the drivers for the line assessors makes a great parallel. First of all we need to assess and determine whether or not we are connected with God. Are you getting power? Are you connected? Or have you been without power.
Ultimately the Holy Spirit is the Line assessor. Ask the Holy SPirit to help you assess your life. Look at your life and see if you are getting your power source from God. If you are not, assess the damage. Where have you become disconnected? Where has the line been broken or the transformer exploded? Is there anything you can do to reconnect the power again? Assess the damage and take some steps to reconnect your lines with God.
Secondly, Jesus says that the second and greatest commandment is this:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. If you have been baptied, you have already been hired by God to be His driver. You don’t necessarily need to know exactly how to get the power back, but He does need you to be the driver. The Holy Sirit will go with you to be the line assessor.
The truth is while many of us are connected to God there are millions and millions of people without electricity now, what I mean by that is that there really are people who have lost their connection with God. They are stumbling around in the dark, lost, cold, scared, isolated, frustrated, and desperate.
Its up to you to be the driver, take Christ to them, Let the Holy Spirit help you assess the damage and in some way begin to restore it.
I really believe that our Holy Father designated this to be the year of faith because He knows that there are so many people without power... there are so many people who have lost thier connection with God... ultimately lost their faith.
Can you think of anyone in your life right now that needs help? Can you think of anyone that has lost their faith or maybe really never had a connection. Try and assess the situation. Where have they been disconnected? Where has their electricity been severed? What has been damaged that they are not being connected with God?
Again, it’s important that first of all we assess our connection. That we assess our faith, know our faith, learn our faith, really understand our faith so that we can begin to take it to all of those people who are in darkness.
There’s millions of people who have lost their connection with God and they are waiting for someone like you to help connect them.
This year of faith do everything that you can to restore your connection with God, repair any damage, asses the outages and do whatever you can to reconnect.
Then go to the millions of people in our world who have lost their power. Let the Holy Spirit guide you and help you to assess the situations in your life, the people in your life and the possibilities that in some way you can help restore their power, reconnect them with God, and not only love God with your whole heart, mind, soul and strength, but to also love your neighbor as yourself.