Finding our place and purpose

Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Easter

Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo is the story of an orphan living in Paris during the 1930s. The boy has inherited his late father’s ability to fix and re-build things, from intricate clocks to sophisticated mechanical toys. After his father dies, Hugo is taken in by his drunkard uncle who is in charge of maintaining the clocks at the Paris train station. Hugo soon masters the maze of mechanisms and gears and keeps the clocks running with perfect precision long after Uncle Claude disappears. Rather than be forced to live in an orphanage, Hugo hides amid the station’s ladders, catwalks and hidden passages.

A light pierces Hugo’s lonely existence when he is meets Isabel, the ward of a toy shop owner. Trusting Isabel, Hugo shows her his world of tools and gadgets, including an automaton he has inherited from his father and is trying to fix. As he shows Isabel his secret view from the top of the great clock tower overlooking the City of Lights, Hugo muses:

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason . . .

“Maybe that’s why a broken machine always makes me a little sad, because it isn’t able to do what it was meant to do . . . Maybe it’s the same with people. If you lose your purpose . . . it’s like you’re broken.”

To find our life’s purpose despite our brokenness is the challenge of Easter. The story of the Crucified Jesus is a “schematic” for all of us in how to transform the crosses of our lives into vehicles of resurrection; to realize, within the challenges of our days, the purpose of our lives; to discover wholeness and meaning as we repair and replace the broken pieces that leave us confused, lost and fearful. May the hope and light of Easter help us persevere in finding our place and purpose in the “one big machine” of God’s world.