Monday, March 28, 2016

Thoughts on Hope

At the end of Lent and the beginning of the Easter Season, we bring with us the joy and hope that belong to our lives as Christians. Both hope and despair are strong realities of life. In the Vigil Mass of Easter, we come away with a live hope: words introducing an article in View from the Ark of the Catholic Times.

The columnist tells us about a Japanese TV serial drama that he saw a  number of years ago at the recommendation of a friend. The drama was later adapted to a Korean audience and also proved popular. 'Midnight Restaurant' was the name of the drama. He wants us to see what the restaurant can tell us about our life as Christians and religious people.

Open from midnight to morning in the middle of Tokyo in a secluded alley and named Rice House, which in itself brings a smile to our lips. One can't help but see it all as laziness: the place, the time, the name are all contrary to what we know about  market strategy.

Customers are many and the reasons are not for the tasty food, nor mainly because they are hungry. They congregate at the Rice House like birds to their nests, proving the words of Jesus that we are not hungry only for bread.

The owner of the restaurant offers only two things to his customers. Gives them their rice and listens to them. A person of few words, and does not come across as the owner. If you look carefully, the writer says, he is always taking a step backwards. Moreover, each episode you have another person in his place, which would make you think it wasn't good for business; however, they keep on coming to share their lives and stories.  

This reminds the columnist of an oasis in a desert, and the many different groups within a Church. God's house is humanity's house, and like the Midnight Restaurant, an Eucharistic Table where people come to speak what is in their heart and receive food.

Pope Francis' certainty is that all pastoral work begins by listening. The columnist recalls a line from a poem that keeps ringing in his ears: " I am in the Church but keep on longing for the Church."  And he hears the words of the Lord said with a smile: "Are you not the Church?"

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