Layers and barks

by | Apr 11, 2016 | Formation, Reflections

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The coconut is a difficult fruit to split open. You will need a machete or a large knife to get to its delicious meat.

In many parts of Latin America, fresh coconut water serves to quench the thirst of those on a walk. Staying in my memory is the amazing agility of those who climb so far up the coconut trees to pluck fruits from them. Next comes the ritual of freeing the fruit from its fibrous husk, by pulling at one end of the fruit first. One then makes just a small hole in the coconut, so that the coconut itself may serve as a makeshift cup from which to drink its water.

The dried coconut is even harder to crack open. It still has water in it, but within the shell has been growing the tasty white meat we all know and value.

The coconut reminds me of the reality of the Church. With the passing of time, it may have lost freshness, that original, overwhelming and hopeful excitement that moved all the apostles and the primitive churches, in which the water of the divine promise overflowed as a fountain for every man and woman.

Twenty centuries later, the Church may look old and out of place. Like the coconut, she appears before the world often as an old-fashioned society, ugly or hardly attractive. Like the fruit, however, she preserves inside the essence and the delicacy of the Word and the message of Jesus Christ. This passage from 2 Cor 4, 7 comes to mind:  But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.

Earthen vessels, then, are we, as individuals and as a community. A church may be unattractive in the eyes of the world, but she holds in her heart the most cherished of gifts. Just as each and every believer of Jesus does.

Let us rejoice, then, because of God’s gift to us. Let us work for his Kingdom and let us give every man and woman greater and greater access to this treasure, by cleaning our “coconut” of its fibrous and hard-to-remove husk that, over time, have appeared on the outside.

Javier F. Chento
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