Gospel Thoughts 19 December 2010

December 18, 2010 at 11:59 Leave a comment

In today’s Gospel Story (Matthew 1:18-24) Joseph chooses to trust God who spoke to him in a dream. This happened because Mary had also chosen to trust God who spoke to her through an angel. Both of these stories have some pretty outlandish ideas, and so both have people making some courageous choices which move them along to the unknown. Both Mary and Joseph made choices which were quite a bit different from the “common sense” values of their day. And, because of their choices God entered history on our level and became one of us.

If we are at all serious about trying to live in a relationship with Jesus we have to be ready for the unexpected just as Mary and Joseph did. Probably not to the same degree, but we can expect the Holy Spirit to reach out to us in unexpected ways. The trick is to do our best to accept everything as somehow coming to us from God. From time to time this might mean we will have to let go of a lot that is important to us, such as our own plans. There is no easy way to do this, other than to make a continuing choice to see everything as somehow related to God and to grace happening in our life. This does not mean that we just passively accept everything that comes our way, but that, in line with our practice of prayer, we face everything situation or relationship with the best we have to offer. Jesus does not call us to be doormats, but to be active participants in our everyday life, bringing to bear the best we have to offer. Nowhere does God call us to know, but only to trust, and to go wherever this trust takes us. If something bad is happening, we have to confront it. Nor can we expect others will agree with us. There are good people on all sides of every issue. Sometimes we just have to do what we have to do. The constant in our life has to be our prayer. Our faithfulness to our prayer practice and our willingness to go wherever this takes us is our contribution to the process of trying to follow Christ.

In the Story Mary and Joseph were not passive. They accepted God’s invitation as it came to them and did their best. We cannot be passive either. Following Jesus is not a means to avoid life, and is inevitably a call to involvement, often to more involvement than we would choose of ourselves. What this means is something each of us has to determine for ourselves, all the while firmly anchored in our practice of prayer. From time to time we may have a sense of being led, while at other times we have more of a sense of wandering. Our foundation is our prayer practice, and at times the only way we know our prayer is “working” is that we keep on doing it.

In the Opening Prayer we pray, “Your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan”.  God’s plan is not a script we have to follow, but a relationship that we work out with the choices we make. Often this relationship brings us out of ourselves and into the service of others. For some this is a natural talent, for others it is hard work against natural tendencies to be alone and uninvolved. We go on to pray, “Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory, and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming”. The Prayer looks to Christ coming in our life right now, to our letting Christ become present in us. The season we are celebrating calls us to be open to the power and Word of God coming to us here and now in whatever we are involved in, and whatever the relationships in our life may be.



Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts 12 December 2010 Christmas 2010

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