Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Writing on the Wall

When the girls were all still little, before our fourth, I came home from work one day to find a bunch of artwork on the bedroom wall with words written in it.   There were some names, some drawings, and even some lipstick and nail polish mixed in.  I called each of the kids in and Julie I began to ask them who did it.  There was a lot of finger pointing, a lot of blame towards the others.  Her mother and I did not need to ask.  We already knew what was written on the wall, and we knew who did it.  That's because only the oldest knew how to read and write.  The fact there were words in the 'art' work indicated she was involved.

When I read this reading for tomorrow's daily Mass I think of that moment.  The kings sorcerers and diviners could not tell you who wrote on the wall or what they wrote.  Daniel though, knew immediately what it was.  Just like Julie and I knew that the oldest was the author, Daniel knew immediately it was a message from God.  How?  Because he knew Him.  Just like we knew enough about our daughters to know who wrote it, we could also begin to understand what she meant by it.  What the words meant to her, what the colors meant to her, what the images might mean to her.  We could begin to understand the message, because we were familiar with the artist.  Daniel knew the message on the wall of king Belshazzar because he too was familiar with it's artist.  He knew the work of God when he saw it.

Daniel didn't need time to figure out the message.  He began to speak immediately informing the king of what God intended by the three words on the wall.  The fact that Daniel was already familiar with God and close to Him allowed him to speak the interpretation.  God gave him the meaning.  God gave him the words to say.

We see the same message in tomorrow's Gospel.  Jesus warns the disciples in the crowd that they will go through much suffering and persecution on account of him.  He tells them though that they don't need to worry about what to say, because he will give them the words to say. Through the Holy Spirit they will be reminded of what words to say.  Because they know Him, and are familiar with Him, the message will be clear immediately.

As we approach the end of the Liturgical year, we approach the season of Advent.  That season reminds us of Jesus birth in our world, of his second coming, and of the need for us to keep him 'being born' in the world every moment of every day.  The question becomes, do you know Him?  Do you know Him well enough that writing on the wall will be clear to you?  Are you open to His spirit so that He can guide your words and actions?  Are you allowing Him to be born through you? Let us draw closer to Christ through the Church, and through the Sacraments.  Let us prepare our hearts to be a living manger, that Christ may come to us through the Eucharist and remain born in our hearts, feeding us, transforming us, into something more.  Just as the manger in the cave must have been made sacred, holy by touching Christ himself... so too must you remember that you yourself are touched by Christ and are being made Holy. 

I have work to do to become a Saint.  Let us journey together on this road.  Helping one another to see the writing on the wall and receive the message from God in our hearts, minds, and souls.

His servant and yours,