How good and how pleasant it is,
when brothers dwell together as one!
What’s so happy about happy hour? …or spinning class? …or social media for that matter? It’s the other people, isn’t it? On the flip side, one of the greatest tragedies of city life is that people can live in the midst of a metropolis and feel completely isolated (What St. John Paul II referred to as the “anonymity of the city”).
More than most, Washington is a city built for community. Think about it, an artificially created jurisdiction whose whole purpose is to bring together representatives from across a continent. Even the physical layout of our city is meant to bring people together: our many parks, traffic circles and other green spaces. My grandfather once commented, “It’s a tragedy that people should fight so viciously in a place so beautiful.” Contemporary additions to our communal dynamic include the Metro system and now social media. Consider how excited people are that the silver line is nearing completion… Where does that come from? The DC bar and restaurant scene, and now the advent of coffee culture all serve to bring people together because that’s where people are happiest – in the company of friends. Why?
Catholic tradition holds that made in God’s image and likeness, humans are most human when they live in community. God is one God in three Persons (Father Son and Holy Spirit). So we form families – unified domestic communities of persons. Likewise we seek out friends for a drink after work, for exercise and recreation at our gyms… and now, we use social media [at its best] to extend that communion across vast distances and circumstances.
Looking to Genesis we find that when Adam was alone, there was something incomplete?? about him, and so our humanity was split-in-two “God made man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them.” (1:27) Adam needed a partner with whom he could share his life and his love (Gn 2:20), and so came Eve. There is a need in our humanity to resemble the Trinity. Is it any surprise that so many of Jesus’ greatest moments happened around dinner tables (Cana, Zacchaeus, Martha and Mary, the Last Supper to name a very few)?
…just something to think about next time you find yourself smiling at a Happy Hour, or feeling good about your next trip to the gym to workout with a friend.
Also try visiting the webpage for our local Young Adult Ministry, which hosts great sessions of Theology on Tap.