I love the imagery of life flowing like a stream. When life flows like a stream of water without any block, it means that we learn to get along well with people, see the good that is in others, keep hope constantly alive such that no circumstance, no matter how painful, can take it away. Most importantly we will be open to accept people as they are and the gift they bring to us. I am always fascinated by the fact that all through the places a stream passes through, everything around it grows because the water from the stream constantly nourishes everything on its path. But if, for some reason, the stream is blocked or diverted to another direction, the blockage becomes a kind of deprivation to the living things around. Perhaps, through irrigation, life could be brought back to them.

But this is similar in many ways to the way we live. We generally live according to the way we see the world and other people. When we see love and accept it no matter from whom, we will be open to receive and give love. We experience optimism, hope and life; we feel a sense of warmth towards everyone and life in general. Whenever there are mental blocks (and we all have many of them), our perception tends to be easily distorted such that we can even refuse or reject love and goodness when they are staring us in the face. Someone who does not belong to the group of apostles is healing the sick in the name of Jesus but the disciples are not happy about it; they feel that this person does not possess the authority to make other people’s lives better! In fact, they even asked Jesus for permission to stop this person “from doing good”, just because he is not an apostle. Jesus reprimands them and lays out an important principle: “Do not prevent him. There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk. 9:39). In other words, all goodness is from God and whoever is doing good, no matter who he or she is, is actually joining God in making the world a better place. God wants His children to be happy and have a better life and be relieved of unnecessary burden. God uses each of us to make the lives of others better, and we do not even know whom God is going to send to us or whom he is going to send us to! As long as we enter into the flow of life with God, we will remain open to the many ways God makes this happen. But most importantly, we will learn the humility to recognize love and goodness in others and praise God for it.

We all need the healing of those blocks in our minds that make us reject or undermine love that comes from people we feel shouldn’t give us love. As long as we know that we are God’s hands and feet, everyone is a channel of healing to others. It is not the prerogative of priests or nuns or even canonized saints. It is our basic vocation in life – to bring God’s healing presence to those it pleases God to bring into our lives. No one is more or less worthy to be God’s channel of love and healing. The big challenge we all have is the one the disciples have: the challenge of healing the blocks in our minds that make us see others as less worthy than us to give or receive God’s love and healing. All good comes from and goes back to God, and ALL OF US are children and instruments of God. To recognize God working through others requires the virtue of humility and receptivity to God. May God grant us this grace. Amen