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  • Writer's pictureFr. Austin

Be a Bridge-Builder

Photo by Wayne Higgs

The Baltimore Beltway was built between 1955 and 1962 as a way to bypass the city on the Interstate up the East Coast.  Fifteen years later, the Key Bridge was completed in 1977 making the circuit full. Tuesday, we all watched in horror as the bridge collapsed after the cargo ship strike. Now, we will experience travel disruptions, as well as the associated economic suffering. Six construction workers are presumed perished in the accident, and their families – and indeed the city – mourn.


Already, the discussions about clearing the shipping lane and rebuilding the bridge have begun. So, what is the first step at this point? It is the new secure pylons? Is it choosing the best materials? Is it finding the best engineers? Is it the new blueprints? What is the first step in building a bridge?


In fact, it is none of these things – important as they are. The first step in building a bridge is the desire to go to the other side. Without a vision to be “over there,” a bridge is kind of superfluous.


This is what I want us to consider this Good Friday.  Today, we commemorate the Lord’s Passion – that is, Christ’s suffering and death on the Cross. That Cross, so to speak, is now the “bridge” between God and us.  In a disastrous condition of sin and death, we languished, lost and condemned. Our lives, like the tangled wreckage of the Key Bridge, were beset with the marks of our failures and our enmity with God.


However, through the Cross, God has redeemed the world. But the power of the Cross is not in its wood. It is in the love of God – in His desire to go to the other side for us. When we see the Cross, we see the depth of God’s love for us, and the only way to pass from death to life – that “other side” to which we are all called.  Jesus made that possible when out of His desire to be with us – rightly also called His Passion – He laid down His life and established the foundation of our faith and our new life.


We are a people formed by that love; and, therefore, our lives have to be bridges as well.  We need to live out of a desire to get to the other side – to people with whom we disagree, to people who do not love us, to people who are not like us.  We need to build bridges, secured by the same love that led to the Cross.  We cannot be “us and them” if we hope to span the distance between here and there.


While the Key Bridge lies in wreckage, our society could just as easily be described as such. But Jesus has given us the tools – or the Tool – through which to bring healing to all those divides in the world. Be a bridge-builder – now more than ever.

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