In a homily “One step at a time” Father Brendan McGuire relates the story of a group of settlers who came to a new land and found a beautiful valley between two magnificent mountains. On either side of the valley were very steep mountains.
One day, a young settler decided he would climb to the top of this mountain, and when he did, he found a magnificent view, the beauty of God’s creation. Many attempted to climb the mountain but all failed. Some even died trying.
One day a stone cutter decided he was going to cut steps into the bare-faced rock, so he chipped away at making the steps. It took him months just to do one step. Soon enough he died, having made about eight steps.
His apprentice took up the hammer and chisel and continued the work of chipping just a few small bits of one step each day. The second mason was followed by a third mason, and a fourth and a fifth, and generations went by.
After 180 years, the final mason completed the steps to the top of the mountain. He came down to the Mayor of this now big town and handed the hammer and chisel to the Mayor and said, “It is finally complete. I give these as a gift to the city in remembrance of what we, masons, have done for this city.”
Each one of the masons contributed to the carving of the steps; some just one or two, some 10 or 12. Each built on the previous generation.
Today we hear how the original disciples heard and saw Jesus in the flesh. He appeared to them so that they would know that he was alive after death. Today we are the witnesses who tell our children, and our children will tell their children, and so on.
You and I can help start one or two more steps on this journey to what we call the mountain of life, the vision of the New Jerusalem. Mount Zion is where the Lord has prepared a great feast for us (Isaiah 25). The wine is strained clear!
That sounds great, but how do we climb that mountain? It’s the way we practice our faith; the way we are kind, the way we are generous with our gifts. It is the way we serve others. It is the way we pass on the faith we have received, pass it on to our children, our friends and the people around us.
And it is how we forgive each other as Christ has forgiven us. It is by each step we take on our journey of faith that we all chip away at carving out of this life the way to Christ and show others that Christ is the risen Lord.