Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 9, 2002
Cabby's fear, loathing fails to deter pilgrims
By NATALIE TUCHSCHERER
"Stop! I would like to ask you a question! What use are you to us?"
This question was posed to us by a rather arrogant taxi driver in downtown Toronto. He knew we were WYD pilgrims by the passes we wore. He could see that we had light in our eyes and joy in our hearts.
He knew we were strong believers by our "hellos" and "God bless yous" to any that we met. He could not ignore us - his heart told him so.
There are only two reactions when we meet Christ - we can love him, or, we can scoff at him. Christ cannot be ignored.
This man, this taxi driver, chose to scoff - but do you know what that told me? That told me he saw Christ in us! We caused questions to be raised in his heart. We caused disgust to swell up at the sight of our joy.
He wanted answers. He asked what good we were to him when we spend no money. We listened. He asked us what good we were to the city if no one stays in the hotels. We still listened. He even asked us what worth were we to the country when businesses were not to be profiting. And then we smiled.
You see, he spoke the words of the very song that had been engraved into our hearts throughout our pilgrimage:
"What worth has salt if it should lose its taste?
"What usefulness is light, if it is hidden away?"
The song went on in my mind, as the cab driver raged on. My ears were no longer tuned to this world, but to the world of the kingdom. And I knew that the kingdom was about to rattle this man's cage:
"So may our souls, our hearts, our minds be graced." I had a feeling that he was about to be graced. We were the living, breathing body of Christ. He did not recognize this - yet.
"And for the Spirit's gifts, and power, let us pray." And we prayed that he might be moved beyond seeing the worthless mud of this world, and see the priceless worth of Christ's world.
"May love and justice reign, and may God our world renew."
And then the words bubbled up from the core of our hearts. Right in the middle of this man's ranting and raving, we took him by the arms - an A-frame hug, if you will - and sang a little song, This Little Light of Mine, to be exact, and did a little dance, the can-can to be specific.
And we, with the Light of Christ bursting from voices and faces and bodies, made this grumpy, money-stricken, people-pressured, time-rushed, Grinchly gruff of a man smile and laugh and dance. All for the glory of Jesus Christ.
This is what our "use" is. The effects of WYD are not measured in dollars and cents. They cannot be measured at all. It is purely and simply the kingdom of God, in all its fullness, richness and diversity.
Perhaps, after sharing in our song and dance, this man still wasn't changed. Perhaps, he just thought: "What kooks!" and went on his not-so-merry way.
But then again, perhaps, just perhaps - he might have, for one brief and shining moment, seen the glory of God.
Maybe it changed his life, as it has ours. Maybe he can now look at others' faces, and see the glory of God reigning within them, and not the mere worldly profit he could gain from them. Just maybe, this rejected stone could now see his great value in Christ's eyes, and will speak out from the mountaintops of such wondrous love.
Maybe, he will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of us in our communal walk towards the kingdom; all the while singing, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine!" to any who would listen.
Our papa, Pope John Paul, spoke to us words of challenge and adventure: "Why have you come together from all parts of the world? To say in our hearts, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life' (John 6:68).
"Jesus, the intimate friend of every young person, has the words of eternal life. The world you are inheriting is a world which desperately needs a new sense of brotherhood and human solidarity. It is a world which needs to be touched and healed by the beauty and richness of God's love.
"It needs witnesses to love. It needs you - to be the salt of the earth and light of the world."
And so we shall, dear papa! And so we shall.