“The Lord asked for unity among us ‘so that the world might believe.”
– Pope Francis
New York City has never been one of my favorite places in the world. Yes, I can see how some find it exciting, but for me, any excitement is overshadowed by the chaos. The noises, the lights, the throngs of people – it feels as though one can never stop in the city that never sleeps. However, when a work invitation meant that I would be there on a Saturday in December, I must have had an out of body experience, because someone who looked like me and sounded like me suggested to my wife that perhaps we bring the whole clan up for an overnight stay. We were able to secure some great tickets to the Rockettes which only cost me one kidney. The drive up was painless. Even the Lincoln Tunnel was bearable. As we pulled up to the hotel, I wondered if perhaps I had misjudged this destination and just hadn’t spent enough time there. That question was quickly answered as a taxi driver yelled at my child and someone kind of dressed like Minnie Mouse got in my face wanting to take a picture. Not for me.
As we sat down in our seats for the Rockettes after only an hour or so in the city, we all looked a little exhausted. Praise God the show was fantastic and worth every bit of my kidney. The kids were enthralled as the dancers literally never skipped a beat, and I found myself smiling for the entire experience. As I watched the legendary kick line, I marveled at the precision and how much practice and discipline that required. I couldn’t help but think about the chaos of the city that surrounded that theatre and beyond, including the disparate and divisive nature of society and even our Church in recent times. In a “you do you” world where conformity seems to be a bad word and everyone’s looking to cut through the noise, how often in life, leadership, and discipleship do I devalue unity? Do I appreciate how much work, patience, and discipline is required to keep in sync and the beauty that is created when we are all working to keep the beat? It’s easy to conform to my own will. How ready am I to do the work to conform to God’s will? Do I see the Church as an oppressor of my individualism or a vehicle to unity? Am I willing to do the hard work needed to join the line, not out of blind obedience, but out of a call and a desire to provide a beautiful witness to the world?
As our family walked out into Rockefeller Center into a sea of humanity, we all held hands to make sure no one got lost. As we welcome the birth of our Lord in a world that is full of chaos and division, let’s ask the Holy Spirit to remind us - and help us remind others - that God gave His only Son so that all would be saved and no one would be lost. Let’s pray for the virtue to do the hard work to be a part of that heavenly kick line.
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