Fr. Patrick's Reflections

Wisdom 18:6-9 Hebrews 11:1-2,8-19 Luke 12:32-48

When l was a teenager, l had hoped that l might have the talent to be a great footballer.

But the reality of my ability was such that being a great footballer was always going to be an impossibility.

For a while l was disappointed that l could play football but not good enough. But what l
began to realise was, while l didn’t have the football talent that l wish that l had, l was able
to recognise the talent of others and being able to delight in their talent and enjoy it.

As the years have gone on, l am very grateful for the gift that God has given me. Because my
life would have been different if l was not able to appreciate the giftedness of others and be
able to delight in it.

The world is full of gifted people and if you are able to delight in the gift of others, your life will always be a life of joy and happiness.

We saw example of this, the joy and happiness we experienced when we were able to delight in the success of our England senior female national team when won the football Euros cup and also the ongoing Commonwealth Games.

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus says to us be dressed for action with your lamps lit.

What for?  Because Christ is coming at an hour you do not expect.

What do you do to await the coming of Jesus Christ?  If Jesus was to turn up, would l recognise him?

So the first thing we must do is to develop the capacity to recognise Jesus Christ as we recognise someone else’s talents or giftedness or goodness.

Some people are so negative that they only see things in other people that they can judge and condemn and criticise.  Such a person will find it difficult to see Jesus Christ.  Because they have taught themselves to see only one thing, that which is not Jesus Christ.

So let us develop the capacity or the gift to see God.

We have not seen God before but we can recognise God’s presence in another person because of their goodness, because of their faith, because of their integrity.

The next thing is we need to learn how to love God.

Love is the only thing strong enough to overcome our fears and our questions.

Love makes it possible for us to do the hardest things.

Sarah and Abraham loved God and they knew that God loved them. And because they loved
the Lord, they trusted when God asked them to do what they weren’t prepared for; they
believed when God made promises that made no sense; they trusted even when God asked them to do something that wasn’t easy; they were willing to change their whole lives based solely on God’s promise.

So when Jesus invites us to ‘be prepared,’ perhaps he’s inviting us to love God so much, and to be aware of how much God loves us.

We will be able to say, “Lord, I have no idea where this is heading to, or how it’s working
out, but I know that you love me, and you will not let me down in the end.”

“Be prepared” means “fall in love…with Christ.”

God is in every surprise. So you don’t have to panic when life throws the unexpected at you:

+ when your son tells you he’s being deployed overseas; when your daughter tells you that
she is pregnant; when your dad tells you that he has cancer; Christ is there, even when it’s
hard, even when it’s hard to see Him.

+ when your job falls apart; when your marriage falls apart; Christ is there, even when it’s
hard, even when it’s hard to see Him.

+ when you struggle with how to forgive the one who hurt you; when you have fears about what is happening in our world; Christ is there, even when it’s hard, even when it’s hard to see Him.

+ when you fall in love; when you hold your child for the first time; when you experience joy
and beauty; Christ is there, even if His face is hidden below the surface.

When Christ calls us to love – when Christ calls us to follow him – he is inviting us to a hard and demanding vocation.

Love is never easy. Love is worth the work.

Hate is easy. Blame is easy. Prayer and love take hard work.

As Christians, we are called to reject the divisive language of the blame game, so that we
can follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.

Jesus is calling us to reveal the healing power of his love and forgiveness. The important
things in life are never easy. But they are always worth the hard work.

The God who surprised Sarah and Abraham by calling them to a hard vocation is still calling us to the hard work of love.

When Christ comes, may he find us at peace with God and at peace our fellow human
beings, faithful in our vocation and faithful in doing God’s will.

Fr Patrick