Blog # 438 Three Questions
The overall plan of the committee given the task of choosing particular Bible readings for the liturgies throughout the year was to review the story of the life death and resurrection of Jesus as a reminder and invitation to us that as Baptized Christians we are being called to participate in that experience of Jesus by making it our own in some way.
As the Word of God was sent by the Father to share our human life, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of Mary, and given the name Jesus, we are called through faith and Baptism to be united
with Jesus as branches on a vine, sharing His divine life in our limited human mode. Aware of this union with Jesus, and that as the Father sent Jesus into the world with a message and mission, Jesus sends us into our world with that same message and mission, we reach out to the liturgical readings to discover and to clarify what that mission and message might be. In response to this insight we experience the readings as addressed to us personally and as a community of believers. Our goal is to grow in holiness precisely through growth in our obedience and likeness to Jesus.
The experience of desiring the readings be a source of growth was a thought I had many times. Today it seemed to be especially meaningful. I was impressed significantly by the thought God is speaking to me in these readings in the here and now of my life. We are familiar with several prophets in the strict sense of someone who is chosen by God to speak in God's name . All creation, the work of God, can be seen and received as a 'prophet in a broad sense, speaking a message from God to those who believe. For example, a butterfly, bees, morning, night, a humming bird, the Church, are all 'prophets' daily speaking in the power and name of God, telling us of God's presence wisdom and love. In receiving them and all of creation as 'prophets', daily we receive a new share in God's presence, and God's love.
The words of Scripture tell us of what God said in the past. God used angels, prophets, visions, thunder, the whole of the natural world and at times direct revelations to speak to people. It is a long story of God revealing Himself and His plan for creation, with people responding in obedience or sin.
When Moses wanted to know God's name, Who God was, God said "I AM". God said " Let there be light." When God finished the work of creation God looked at it and said it was good. God said to Pharaoh let my people go. God said of Jesus this is "My Beloved Son. Listen to Him". Jesus said of the Father "The Father and I are one." And Jesus said to His disciples "Follow Me." All of these references were given directly in history to people long long ago and in circumstances many times quite different from our own today.
We have situations and realities to face in our present moment of history the human authors of God's divine revelation in the Bible did not know and consequently did not explicitly address.
Consequently to this we have a second question: "What is God saying now, to me/to us?" How do our liturgical readings day after day bear upon our relationships with one another, our health or lack of health, beauty, sorrow, joy, food, work, clothing, temptation, and prayer? Only you can say for yourself. If we 'hear' the words I love you, that is God's answer to our second question.
A third question comes to mind. "What will God say when our story and the story of creation is over?" This question can only be answered in hope. The answer develops year by year as long as we live on earth, and then as a final answer when our life is over. The answer is related to and is built upon our answers to the first two questions. What we experience as God's word to us in the present is the foundation and basis for what we hope will be God's word to us in the future and for all eternity.
Archbishop Sheen used to say he hoped that when he first met Jesus on the other side of death Jesus would say to him "You remind me of my mother". That hope was based upon Archbishop Sheen's great love for and closeness to Mary in his everyday life on earth. All of us should be living in such a way that he or she can confidently hope God will say when we come to judgment "Come, N., take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world".