It’s the oddest thing: Our local branch of the US Postal Service relocated recently…and didn’t leave a forwarding address.
Could be that a planned ‘outdoor sign’ is still in the works. But at present, anyway, here’s what you see when you drive past the door of the ‘new’ post office in our neighborhood.
Get close enough to the front door, and there’s at least the hint of a clue that you’re in the right spot.
But it’s not until you’re already in the building that there’s any official indication that this is the spot.
As a P.O. Box subscriber, I make frequent trips to this branch. And I’ve noticed a familiar pattern emerge: When I’m outside the building, I see people driving v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y past the entrance. You can tell they’ve been to the ‘old’ place…and have been directed to the ‘new’ place…but they still can’t quite be sure that they’ve found the destination.
A sign would help.
And you’d think the USPS, of all outfits, would know that.
I thought of our ‘incognito’ Post Office branch when I spent a little quiet time with this Sunday’s gospel. Wayfinding is at the heart of Jesus’ message for his disciples, but they just don’t seem to be on the same page:
[Jesus said] ‘Where I am going you know the way.’
Thomas said to him, ‘Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’
Frankly, I can sympathize with Thomas. I’m a person who appreciates clear signs and well-marked destinations. And Jesus seems to be acting a little coy here. Playing hard-to-get.
The other disciple quoted in the passage doesn’t fare much better:
Philip said to him, ‘Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’
Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’
Don’t know about you, but I’d certainly understand if Philip had a puzzled look on his face after that exchange. But read on, and the mystery begins to clear up just a tad. Jesus reveals an insight into his true identity.
‘Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.’
It’s not so much that Jesus is playing hard-to-get. It’s more like he’s trying to show us that we are simply blind to the love of God all around us. We can’t see the forest for the trees.
And there’s perhaps no better day in all the year to meditate on this mystery than Mother’s Day. After all: God, who is Love, comes to us first in and through the works of our mothers. God speaks to us in and through their lullabies. God touches us in their tender caresses.
No mother is perfect, I suppose — and I suspect my Mom might blush at the suggestion that God’s grace is powerfully present in the simple things she’s done for us over the past 60+ years. At the same time, I know that I am deeply blessed by all the mothers in my life. They help me see something I might otherwise miss: God, who is Love, on duty – and hard at work – in every little nook and cranny of the world.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.