This morning when I opened up the Magnificat, there was a reflection titled “Jumpmaster Shepherd” from a priest named Father Peter Pompossello (pages 91-92 of Holy Week 2017. Go read it). He talks about how his dream was to be a paratrooper in the Army since the age of eight. Now, he is a chaplain in the Army and a jumpmaster of paratroopers. That’s kind of awesome. Can we be friends?
In the next paragraph, he reflected on the responsibilities of the jumpmaster: “a jumpmaster cares for his paratroopers just as a shepherd cares for his flock.” The jumpmaster makes sure that the paratroopers’ gear is on correctly. The jumpmaster inspects everyone for safety. The jumpmaster leads them to the airplane. The jumpmaster gives the command to jump.
The jumpmaster jumps with them.
I stopped here because I love this. Not only does the jumpmaster tell them what to do, but the jumpmaster does it with them. Later, he says that the jumpmaster makes sure everyone is accounted for on the ground before they continue with their mission.
Jesus called to mind some things He’s asking me to do in the near future. They are hard. Very hard. I have no desire to do them at all because I’m scared. I’m scared of rejection. I’m scared of loss. I’m scared of judgement. Silly human things.
A few weekends ago, I attended a discernment retreat. At the retreat, the priest talked about how making big decisions can feel like jumping off a cliff, like a leap of faith. We have to trust that the Lord is there to catch us when we jump. This is living a life of faith. If we were certain of what we were doing, we’d be living a life of certainty. As Christians, as Catholics, we are not called to a life of certainty; we are called to a life of faith.
As I sat in the church this morning, I realized that Jesus was giving me the perfect culmination of images to combat my fear. I have to do some things that frighten me as much as jumping out of an airplane would, but now I have renewed hope. When I jump, not only will Jesus catch me, He will do something better–He will jump with me. He is next to me, every step of the way. He will make sure that I’m safe before we continue on with the mission (whatever He decides that’ll be). That’s what is important. That’s what matters. That’s where I find hope.
My stomach slowly unknotted itself as I let this realization soak in. This is a truth I will continue to fall back on.
Jesus is the jumpmaster, and I am the paratrooper. I just have to jump.