More Gospel Thoughts 28 November 2010

November 27, 2010 at 11:07 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story for the First Sunday of Advent (Matthew 24:37-44) Jesus says, “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come”. We believe the Scriptures speak to us in the setting of whatever is going on in our life when we hear them. Among the things going on in our lives these days are the economy, unemployment, healthcare, etc. Just this week North Korea fired artillery into the civilian population of South Korea, and we are repositioning a naval battle group (many of us have family or friends serving in South Korea, so this brings an additional level of concern); in Afghanistan someone who tried to pass as a Taliban leader bilked the US out of a large amount of money; the holiday season is known to be a season for depression and violence, and a time for families fighting over unresolved issues; in the aftermath of elections there is much infighting – always, so they say, for what is right and just; and there is the constant “my children are not following the path we have set out for them” – when in schools, jobs, marriage, religion.

How could Jesus possibly be in any of this? This is something each of us has to learn for ourselves. But first we need to have some prayer in our life that might lead us at least to be open to the possibility that he is with us in all this. The large scale happenings are composed of many small scale happenings by individual who feel some sense of being alone, afraid, hurt, angry, etc. How we deal with what is all around us, and, perhaps within us, is something we learn in some way in prayer. There are no clear cut answers. Prayer does not make any of this go away, or turn things out as we want them to be. Prayer, as opposed to saying prayers, does open us to the real presence of Christ in our life, of grace really happening in us. We learn hands on that Christ is real, and he is not the Christ we like to think he is. We can recognize this, although we cannot explain it. This leads us perhaps to begin taking a new look at the values we use to make our choices.

How this plays out is a bit different for each of us, but it does play out if we give it a chance and begin some sort of prayer practice. There is no one way. Few of us will be involved in international negations or high level government business, but we do live in a family, on a street, constantly involved with others, and this is where grace plays out with our openness and hard work. The foundation has to be our own prayer. We pray not to get God to fix things, change others, or even change ourselves, or to tell God under what conditions we will accept or recognize him. We pray just to spend time with God and go where this takes us. And, with our trust and consenting hard work, it will take us somewhere. We learn to be open to the sudden unexpected urge to turn left instead of right, to smile at someone just because it seems good, to treat a familiar situation or relationship in a new way. We learn to deal with what is to the best of our ability, not having demands or expectations of others or even ourselves, but just doing it. We being to “rejoice in his presence and welcome the light of his truth” and to recognize him in new and unexpected persons and places. We might even begin to realize that in this hour we do not expect, the Son of Man is here with us.

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts 28 November 2010 Gospel Thoughts 12 December 2010

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