How can two seemingly opposite people share the same sentiments? Or how can two people who share the same background and upbringing have two radically different approaches or morals in life. We are all unique. And because of that we are all the same.
Some might say we are interconnected through our differences. Others say our differences is what divides us. Yet we are still humans, sharing 99% the same DNA. A friend of mine who is a counselor to gang members and troubled teens recently shared this little secret to get people of different gangs to be able to talk and work together.
He tells them, "Close your eyes and picture me taking out your heart and putting it on the table where there are the hearts of a black man, a white woman, and a transgender Hispanic sitting there. Watch me as I shuffle them all around. Now I ask you to go pick up a heart for me to put back in you. Which one will you get?"
His point is...it doesn't matter the skin color, or upbringing or sexual identity, or your religious or ethnic make up. All hearts are 99.9% the same. God knows our heart, meaning our truth. God takes our heart because so that we can be one with God.
Rohr had this to say:
"This might be the highest level of mystical teaching in the entire New Testament. Here Jesus connects everything: he in his Father, the Father in you, you in God, God in him, God in the world, and you in the world. It’s all one.
"I think this is the core realization of every saint. Saints see things in their connectedness and wholeness. They don’t see things as separate. It’s all one, and yet like the Trinity, it is also different. What you do to another, you do to yourself; how you love yourself is how you love your neighbor; how you love God is how you love yourself; how you love yourself is how you love God. How you do anything is how you do everything.
"Faith is not simply seeing things at their visible, surface level, but recognizing their deepest meaning. To be a person of faith means we see things—people, animals, plants, the earth—as inherently connected to God, connected to ourselves, and therefore, absolutely worthy of love and dignity. That’s what Jesus is praying for: that we could see things in their unity, in their connectedness.
"I will go so far as to say that the more we can connect, the more of a saint we are. The less we can connect, the less transformed we are. If we can’t connect with people of other religions, classes, or races, with our “enemies” or with those who are suffering, we’re not very converted. Truly transformed individuals are capable of a universal recognition. They see that everything is one.
"We don’t go to heaven; we learn how to live in heaven now. And no one lives in heaven alone. Either we learn how to live in communion with other people and with all that God has created, or, quite simply, we’re not ready for heaven. If we want to live an isolated life, trying to prove that we’re better than everybody else or believing we’re worse than everybody else, we are already in hell.
"We have been invited—even now, even today, even this moment—to live consciously in the communion of saints, in the Presence, in the Body, in the Life of the eternal and eternally Risen Christ. This must be an almost perfect way to describe salvation itself."
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Seeing Is Not Always Recognizing,” homily, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 8, 2016.