[Jesus said to his disciples,] “So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Matthew 24:44
In unexpected moments of grace, we are made aware of the presence of the Lord and our hearts leap with joy.
[Elizabeth said,] “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:43
How many coats do I have? Jackets? Sweaters? What if I were to give one away to someone who has none.
How many cans, bottles, boxes, packages of food are in my cupboards? What if I were to give some away to the hungry.
God’s prophets point us to the Way of generous awareness of the needs of others.
[John the Baptist said to them,] “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise.” Luke 3:11
At any point in our temporal history, the Word of God may come to us and lead us to become prophetic witnesses to the presence of God in our midst.
The Word of God may call us to speak out against prejudice, greed, and violence, and point the way to acceptance, generosity, and peace.
The Word of God may show us how to let go of resentment, self-centeredness, and arrogance, and teach us the way of forgiveness, service to those in need, and humble awareness of our dependence on God.
The Word of God may clarify our purpose in life: to love God, ourselves, and our neighbors, to bring comfort to the afflicted, to use our gifts and talents in the service of God’s whole human family.
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar… during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert. Luke 3:1, 2
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day. Psalm 25:4-5
The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. Luke 1:26-27
God sends specific messengers to specific locations to specific people every day.
I met several of God’s messengers at the Salvation Army Friday. Some were tiny children crying for their mothers. Some were cranky or bossy or argumentative adults. I did my best to keep saying “yes” to bearing God’s Love into the swirl of human emotions. It took all my energy.
Some messengers were kind and efficient, unfailingly gracious and cheerful. They are a living example of saying “yes” to being Love Bearers in our world where all of us just want to love and be loved.
The gospel is our every day wake up call: a call to love, to help the poor, to show compassion to all people.
It’s a call to spend time in quiet prayer and meditation, to read holy scripture, to deepen our relationship with Jesus.
The gospel wakes us up to the reality of God’s presence in our world, in our lives, in our being.
Today I will trust the wake up call of the gospel and ask the Lord to bless me with knowledge of his will for me and the power to carry it out.
What am I watching for?
For an opportunity to be kind.
For an opportunity to help someone.
For an opportunity to encourage someone.
For an opportunity to feed the hungry.
For an opportunity to choose peace.
For an opportunity to speak out against violence.
For an opportunity to let go of arrogance.
For an opportunity to show respect to others.
For an opportunity to rejoice in another’s success.
For an opportunity to welcome a stranger.
For an opportunity share my gifts and talents.
For an opportunity to love my neighbor as myself.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” Matthew 1:22-23
Whether I’m having an easy day or a hard day, God is with me. Whether I’m feeling peaceful or angry, God is with me. Whether I believe or don’t believe, God is with me.
I imagine John the Baptist had some moments of stress in prison, wondering what would happen to the work he’d begun. To know that Jesus was busy healing those who were blind, lame, deaf, lepers, or poor opened his eyes to recognize the Christ, and meant he could let go and surrender everything to Jesus.
My own worries – big and small, world-centered and self-centered – take up a lot of time and energy. Maybe this Advent I will have the courage to surrender everything to Jesus.