Closing Reflection for Bridge Building Workshop

After the Bridge-Building Workshop was over, many of the participants approached Fr.Ken Sales to obtain a copy of the closing reflection that he wrote for the event. Recognizing the demand for the inspiring words spoken by our fellow community member, we wanted to post it on our website for all to read and share. Fr. Ken gladly allowed us to share his reflection with all. We hope that everyone enjoys these words and is inspired to take action, something like signing the Welcoming Pledge could be the first step.

 

BUILDING BRIDGES WORKSHOP (You, Me, We=Oakley! and CCISCO)

Fr. Ken Sales, Parochial Vicar at St. Anthony Catholic Church, Oakley, CA

 

Dear God, take our minds and think through them; take our hands and feet and work through them; take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire for you. Amen.

 

One of man’s greatest achievements has been the building of great bridges. Seeing and crossing the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge here in our very own state of California is an experience that one never forgets. The longer Bay Bridge is also very impressive, as it links the city of San Francisco with the cities east of the bay.

 

The George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River just above New York City is another monumental achievement. These bridges and others like them around the world are evidences of the ingenuity and consummate skill of man.

 

Peoples, cities, and even nations have been brought closer together by these great bridges. Where once there was a great gulf of separation, there came to be a great bridge enabling people to work together in closer cooperation and friendship.

 

In another way man has bridged the oceans and even outer space. When Columbus crossed the Atlantic with his three small sailing vessels, he was actually building a bridge from the old world to the new. Through the generations that have followed this bridge has grown stronger until today the Atlantic is crossed by giant ocean liners on schedules which Columbus would have dreamed utterly impossible.

 

Similarly, when the men of Apollo 11 landed on the moon, they laid the first feeble strands that ultimately will form a bridge from earth to the moon and perhaps to so some of the planets.  Man can transcend almost all of earth’s physical barriers, but there often remain barriers of the spirit which man has not yet spanned.

 

These barriers are racial, national, cultural and religious. We build bridges quite well in the external world; we need to build bridges in the inner world of man’s spirit. There is an art to bridge building, those of mind as well as those of concrete and steel.

 

Bridges are conductors of communications. Peace among nations as well as peace of mind comes with building bridges of understanding. It is in this area especially that we have work to do.

 

One of the most important things that Jesus did during His ministry on earth was to tear down walls and build bridges! Yes, as strange as this might sound, Jesus indeed, tore down the walls that kept people away from each other and built bridges, that are girders of love and forgiveness, so as to bring people together. If you think with me for a moment, about Jesus' life, you will see what I mean.

He associated with sinners (Zacchaeus being one example) whom the Pharisees rejected. Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well which was against Jewish law. Samaritans were viewed as no good and women, of course, were segregated in those days as inferior.

He associated with both the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated. Jesus also "worked", in particular on Saturdays; He healed on the Sabbath day, and was criticized for doing so since it was viewed as a day of rest. He tore at the "wall of hypocrisy" of the Pharisees in doing so, that they addressed to the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law as it should be.

 

St. Paul reminds us of the human and spiritual bridges Jesus built in this letter to the Galatians (ch3: v26-28 in particular):

"In Christ Jesus, you are all sons of God through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek (Race-Nations) slave nor free (Class Hatred) male nor female (sex & power) for you are all one in Christ".

In recent months, we follow in the media the topic of immigration reform and of the round up of suspected illegal immigrants by our government. This is yet another form of walls being reinforced, versus, bridges being built, bridges that can improve peoples' lot in life.

It is always a great day when a new bridge is dedicated. People on both sides of the bridge rejoice because they are now able to reach each other, easier and faster. The space that separated them has now been conquered. But building bridges is not the business of engineers and construction workers along! It is everyone’s business, especially if we are Christians to build bridges of happiness, harmony, peace, unity, forgiveness and love; between ourselves and whomever we may be at a distance with!

 

After all, God did it for us, by bridging heaven and earth by his taken on of flesh on Christmas Day. We can build these bridges by extending kindness and courtesy, patience and praise. Let us all do this with everyone we come in contact with for we are all one in Christ! Let us be sure we act as being one in Christ.

 

Conclusion

 

We build bridges by so simple a thing as a warm smile. A happy greeting establishes a bond with another. A firm handshake warms the heart and begins the process of making an acquaintance a friend. An expressed interest in another opens the door of the heart. A genuine concern for another’s problems forms a foundation for friendship. An act of loving service cements a relationship. These are simple things, yet they are the things out of which bridges are built. A smile ... a greeting…a handshake ... an interest ... a concern ...an act of love.  And tonight, we are given this, for the city of Oakley most especially its constituents, you and I in this town of promising hopes and dreams.

 

This may form a bridge more important in the long span of history than even the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge in all its spectacular beauty. The building of bridges is a simple work, yet a work so profound that the future of our world and yes our city of Oakley and us the people of this great city, depends upon it.

Let us pray…Grant, O Lord,  that what has been said with our lips we may believe in our hearts, and that what we believe in our hearts we may practice in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. E N D

Click here to view and have the opportunity to sign the Welcoming Pledge


 

Eventos y Últimas Noticias

Eventos y Últimas Noticias

FESTIVAL HEART OF OAKLEY

Estamos buscando artistas culturales de canto o baile y voluntarios dispuestos a exhibir diferentes culturas para el Festival de Heart of Oakley. Si está interesado en aprender más sobre esta oportunidad o para obtener la aplicación, favor de visitar Festival "Heart of Oakley">>

 

ENTRENAMIENTO DE SALUD MENTAL

13 de agosto del 2016 en Oakley. Para más información, visite la página del Entrenamiento de Salud Mental>>

 

TALLER DE CIUDADANÍA

¿Necesita ayuda comenzando el proceso para obtener ciudadanía de los Estados Unidos? El próximo taller se llevara a cabo el 24 de septiembre en el palacio municipal de Oakley. Para más información visite Taller de Ciudadanía>>

 

DIA DE LOS MUERTOS

Nos estamos alistando para la celebración del Dia de los Muertos el 29 de octubre del 2016 en Oakley. Para más información visite Día de los Muertos>>

 

VIDEO DE HISTORIAS DIGITALES: ¡NUESTRO FUTURO ES JUNTOS!

Mire nuestro video que incluye miembros de la comunidad que compartieron sus historias inmigrantes! Visite nuestra página de Facebook para compartir lo que piensa del video.

¡Le damos las gracias a los que participaron en el video y a Storytellers for Good por el gran trabajo que hicieron!