Gospel Thoughts 28 November 2010

November 27, 2010 at 11:04 Leave a comment

In today’s Gospel Story for the First Sunday of Advent (Matthew 24:37-44) Jesus warns/encourages his followers to be prepared because they do not know when he will come to them. Our image of Christ determines whether we see his Story as warning us or as encouraging us.

If our image of Jesus is someone out there somewhere watching us, we interpret these words as warning us so we won’t get punished. We spend our lives looking over our shoulder to see if he is following us, keeping notes on what we do or don’t do. His words disturb us. We are afraid of him.

If our image of Jesus is someone among us and in us always and never in any way apart from us, we interpret these words as encouraging us to be ready for surprises, for chances to come to know him in new and exciting ways. Jesus works in us through our choices and decisions.  At times there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to when and why we encounter new persons and experiences. Yet each choice we make impacts all our other opportunities to choose. Every time we choose one thing, we “unchoose” any number of other things. Jesus encourages us to be prepared, alert, because we do not know when we are going to have another, often unexpected, opportunity to make a choice. He suggests to us that we make our relationship with him the basis of our values that we use to make our choices. When we move in this direction, our desire to live every day in a relationship with him becomes the context for everything we do. This does not keep us apart from others, but draws us to ever more involvement in unexpected situations and relationships.

This often brings with it a sense of joyful freedom. We do not need to have everything our way, to control our lives, although the urge to do this does not go away easily. It conducts kind of guerilla warfare, popping up everywhere, just when we thought we had the problem licked. We make our plans, but let go of them willingly when the unexpected opportunity comes along. Often it is the unexpected visitors that give a new depth and richness to our everyday living. Based on our past experiences, we look forward to the unexpected simply because it is unexpected, and unknown. While Christ invites us to know him in joy, he does not always offer us fun. Whatever comes our way takes on a new depth and richness, but not necessarily enjoyment, as we come to realize he is right here with us.

The phrase “everything happens for a reason” begins to sound a bit lame. Things happen just because they happen, based on the choices of any number of us. God is not out there somewhere pulling strings and running our life, testing us. He keeps us, as well as all creation, in existence through pouring God’s life into us. We share with God in the ongoing creation of all that is, and we do this by trying to be alert to grace happening in and around us, and this itself affects our values and our choices. Rather than testing us, God continually is calling us to new and deeper ways of knowing grace, and, perhaps, choosing freely to do what grace presents to us. God invites us always to trust and do our best. Its up to us. No one can make our choices for us.

As we begin Advent, we are not preparing for the birth of the Savior. This has already happened. We are trying to be more expectant, more open and alert to God moving in us and among us. The scriptures remind us not to be afraid of God, but to open ourselves to God who loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. God invites each of us to make this journey in our own way, to come to know how real God is, and how wide open our life can become as we let go of our need to be in control and in charge. The Story of the event we recall and celebrate speaks to each of us personally, and gradually becomes our own Story as step by step we choose to be open to grace and go wherever this takes us. Always the Son of Man comes to us at times and places we do not expect, and in persons in whom we would not expect ever to know him. And so we find that God is good, and there is no need to be afraid at all.



Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

11 November, Veterans’ Day 2010, Random Meanderings More Gospel Thoughts 28 November 2010

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Blog Stats

  • 13,395 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 25 other followers

%d bloggers like this: