A Message from Fr Dan: Building Bridges:

Published on June 6, 2024

There is an ancient story told of two brothers, John and James who owned farms side by side. Over 50 years they worked their fields’ together, shared knowledge and produce, and lent a helping hand to one another in times of need. One day, a foolish argument broke out between the brothers and caused a rift between them. This was the first serious disagreement the brothers ever had in all of their time together.


The rift began over a small misunderstanding, which can sometimes happen. However, the dispute was not resolved and dragged on over a period of time. With time there was an angry exchange of words, followed by weeks of silence. Things took a very bad turn when James, the younger brother changed the stream’s path, making it into a solid border between the two farms.


The elder brother, John, was furious and he resolved to make the barrier between the two farms even more permanent. He went to see and old bearded carpenter who was a friend of the family for many years. He said to the carpenter, “You have known us over fifty years. Have you seen what my brother has done to the stream between our farms. By diverting the stream, James has damaged my farm and I want to teach him a lesson. You see those trees over by the barn? I want you to turn them into a 10-foot-tall fence. I never want to see his face again.”


The old carpenter thought quietly to himself for a few minutes, remembering his friendship with both brothers and eventually said: “I see”. The elder brother helped the carpenter carry his tools to the wood, and then drove into town. When he came home in the evening, the old carpenter had finished his work. The elder brother walked down to the stream and was stunned by what he saw. He couldn’t say a single word. Where the fence, he ordered should have been standing, a new bridge now stood. It was a well-constructed bridge, a work of art, with carved banister. At the same time, the younger brother happened to come to the same spot. When he saw the bridge, he ran across and embraced his older brother, and said: “You’re something special… building a bridge, after all I’ve said and done!”


While both brothers were hugging, the old carpenter collected his tools and started walking home. The brothers turned to him and said “Please, stay for a while as we are going to have a bit of a celebration.”. But the carpenter just smiled and said enjoy your celebration and realize how much you love one another. You have learned to forgive and appreciate what you have. That is enough for me.