Friday, April 29, 2016

Mission Impossible.

In tomorrow's readings we see Paul trying to follow the will of God.  He has recruited Timothy, a man who is both Jew and Greek to accompany him.  The message of the Gospel would be that much easier to spread to a new culture when you have "one of their own" with you.  Yet, he seems to be confounded at every turn.  They try to go into Asia but are prevented, into Bithynia and it is not God's will.   I imagine that is frustrating.  Here he is doing exactly what he has been called to do, and yet the Holy Spirit prevents them from going into these areas.  Imagine the frustration.   The doubt.  Then that night he has a vision of a Macedonian speaking to him and asking him to come into their country to help.  As soon as the vision was revealed they set out to seek passage into Macedonia to do God's will.

How often do we do the same thing in our lives?   Many of us are 100% sure of our calling, of what God wants us to do.. and that's a noble and good thing.  However, our calling is to do the will of God and that requires discernment.  It requires taking time to ask God exactly what he wants from us.  To follow his lead.  How can we ever know what his lead is if we don't spend time listening?  That's something our culture doesn't like, isn't it?  We have portable phones, music players, streaming devices... ear pieces that allow us to stand in a room with others and listen to some event thousands of miles away.   If we just look around at a restaurant instead of staring down at our cell phones people think we are weird or odd.  We are even encouraged to have music playing in the background of our homes so that when we arrive it isn't silent.. but rather welcoming and warm.

Somehow we got this notion that silence is bad.  That being alone with our own thoughts.. that sitting in meditation waiting for God to speak to us is old fashioned and a waste of time.  Yet, that's when God speaks to us the most.. in the silence.. when we stop using him as some sort of heavenly ATM and instead realize that He is a loving father with whom we have a relationship to maintain.   That means not just talking to Him, but spending time listening.  How then can we prepare for our mission if we never listen for that mission?  The Eucharist is the key.  It is the entire foundation of our Catholic faith.  Receiving Him, adoring Him, spending time with Him, listening to Him... that's what it takes to find out exactly what he wants from us.

The world wants us instead to blare our music, listen to our television shows, and constantly be bombarded with external information.  It's almost as if we are scared to take a moment to find out who we are.. and who He is.   Jesus warned us of this though.  In tomorrow's Gospel he talks about how the world hates him.. and as such, will hate us.   If people watched your day, would they see Him?   Or would they see just another person?  If they looked at your browser list would it look like everyone else's?  If they looked at your Netflix history would they be impressed?  He talks of persecution and he says the reason for it is "because they did not know the one who sent me."

Do you know Him?  Are you listening?   Each day is an opportunity for that, and opportunity to be more like Christ and less like the world.  That's what Church is all about.. it's about unity, growing together in faith, being the Body of Christ... the Sacraments draw us closer, and allow us to receive Him.. to be filled with His grace and His love.   Don't shun them... and take a moment today, and every day, to sit in silence and listen for His voice to find out what His plan is for you.  The fullness of God has been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.  He gave us the Holy Spirit, a Church, and the Sacraments to lead us to an informed conscience and a holy formation.... It is time for us to avail ourselves of that tremendous grace and follow where he leads.

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."