I think we live in antagonistic days, when communication is so easy but peoples’ lack of tolerance and hard minds and hearts make understanding between people so difficult. The news about terrorism, the refugee issues, climate change achieving dangerous levels, poverty, abortion, euthanasia, all add more doubt to our list of questions: are we doing the right thing? Do we choose the true values? Are we reflections of God?
So, in the middle of life’s sea, where we find both small and large waves, both storms and calmness, we need a direction. But who is our direction? It should be Jesus, but sometimes we are like the blind man from Bethsaida (Mark 8:22).
Fortunately, Jesus reveals himself to us. Not the same Jesus that we see present in paintings with long hair and white clothes (although in some cases, for some people, according to His will, this type of Epiphany happens). So, how does he come to us? And how can we recognise Jesus in everyday life? We recognise Him through acts of patience, love, and mercy and even in the small hugs and smiles that people share.
When Adriana and I arrived in Bristol, on the first day (Sept 4th 2014), we asked in the hotel where we could find a catholic church. The staff’s answer was St Mary on the Quay. Although we were foreigners it was easy to find it as the church is located at the city’s centre, exactly like a lighthouse that exists to guide ships safely. Definitely, I believe SMQ, especially the Young Adults Group, was a guiding light to illuminate us, a small boat on the sea of life. Far away from our families, we found support during difficult situations and rest for our journey and, (this I couldn´t forget), we experienced and shared joy. We pray for SMQ that, through Mary’s assistance, Jesus will keep this church like a lighthouse in Bristol. May it be a light of peace, love and mercy that can show the way through the dark nights that humanity is crossing.
It is so appropriate that St Mary’s is called St Mary-on-the-Quay, reminding us of the time when it literally was on the quayside in Bristol, there to welcome seafarers home. The name reminds us that God still wants us to be an important lighthouse for the city of Bristol.