Entering the Story of Salvation
January 18, 2020
We are here at Chicago-O’Hare airport, waiting for the first leg of our flight to the Holy Land. Marc Auge once called airports “non-places”: places where everyone is anonymous and no one enjoys a real and intimate connection with each other. Airports are places of transition – we know we are only passing through and this gives us a different perspective. It is as if we are stepping out of our daily lives and getting a glimpse of the place where we live and the people we know in a new way. It can be a poignant moment, especially when we are preparing to leave home and travel somewhere new. I’ve heard that this makes some people feel very patriotic, as they watch people coming and going from all over and see the country “pass by” them in a blip.
For me, airports have always heightened my sense of the spiritual. Watching the hustle and bustle of the tarmac traffic, the faces of passengers delighted to be home or anxious to be on their way – it is these joys and fears and messiness that he entered into through his human birth in Bethlehem so many years ago. What a contrast; from the transitional place of the airport to the land where God forever altered the story of human history and walked among us! This is the spirit of the pilgrimage we are now beginning. We go to the Holy Land to experience up-close-and-personal the overwhelming love of God that was manifest in Jesus’ miracles, gracious words, and, most especially, his death and resurrection. But we go because we believe that his love still meets us today. This is what it means to be a “pilgrim” rather than a tourist. We are not there to be observers, to see the sites passively as we might “people-watch” in the airport. We are there to interact with the Story of Salvation and to enter into that story, asking, in a particular way, that Christ configure us more closely to himself in his ministry and sacrifice as we prepare for our deacon ordinations this spring and summer.
Please keep us in your prayers throughout our pilgrimage and be assured of our prayers for you.
Archdiocese of Seattle