“Stay awake and be ready! For you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:42
“When you least expect it…” Isn’t that what we’re often told? Just relax. When you least expect it, some great fortune will come your way.
I look at this everyday wisdom a little differently: Blessings are gifts from God. But they don’t come when God is ready. They come when we’re ready to being transformed in God’s grace. You see, the divine is always present. It’s just that sometimes we have a problem seeing God, especially when that unexpected thing is unsettling—and not what we want at all.
Many years ago at 23 years of age I was just starting out my missionary life in Peru. I was thrilled to be among the people. But I was also learning what it meant to accept a grace when disguised by tragedy.
One day I was alone at the rectory when the doorbell rang. A young couple had arrived, carrying their infant baby. They pleaded with me to baptize the infant but I couldn’t. The baby had already died. I felt completely helpless and could only comfort them in their grief. I didn’t have the answers they wanted, but I overcame my fear and inadequacy by remaining as present to them as I could. As a result of that encounter, the couple and I formed a long-lasting friendship. I accompanied them for years in prayer and counseling. They considered me to be a member of their family. The grace we gave each other helped us grow into more compassionate people: me as a missioner and them as a couple. Through our friendship and trust in God we deepened each other’s faith.
Friend, don’t be taken aback by Matthew’s scripture today. Be comforted instead knowing that when we realize God is always present—already here among us—we can grow in grace, and enrich each other’s lives no matter the circumstance. So are you ready? Today is a good day to say, “Yes, here I am, Lord—and I know you are here, too.”
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 2nd Sunday
Come, Lord Jesus, with Your grace
and transform my life and our world.
May I look for Your presence
among the people and I see Your
face and hear Your voice In those
whom I meet each day.
May I encounter You in the streets
no less than in the Sacraments
in the marketplace as in holy scripture.
above all, Lord, may I be ever open
to finding You among tears and sorrows,
failures and tragedies, no less than in
joys and victories.
You who consecrated our human nature
by living a human life help me consecrate
each day to Your kingdom and dedicate
every encounter to Your glory
asking only that You take whatever
good I do to the honor of Your most holy name.
Prayer by Maryknoll Missioner, Father Joseph Veneroso