19th Sunday C ((Luke 12: 32-48) WAITING, LOOKING, PRAYING.
This Sunday’s gospel reminded me briefly of Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot.” Whereas the theme of the play is the meaningless of life the theme of the gospel is the very opposite: the meaningfulness of life – waiting for the return of the Master. He has already come. He has been with us, been one of us, since the very beginning. He came that we might have life, a share in his divine life. He came to draw us into meaningful relationship with life, with everything and everyone we encounter, and with God. He is with us and in us here and now and promises to be with us for ever. How conscious are we of him?
Many of us have grown to pray to God who is “up there” rather than to God who is “in here.” We habitually pray out of our own needs and perspective. We need to broaden and expand the lens and adopt the mind of Christ and pray from his mind. He knows best what we need. “In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus” – Philippians 2:5ff. When our minds are absorbed into the mind of Christ, and he comes and knocks and finds us awake, we are on the road to fullness of life – cf. John 10: 10.
Getting to know who Jesus is, getting to know his mind and outlook is fundamental for Christians. We tend to skip over that and focus on doing good things for others, hoping we are doing God’s will. Good and all as that is, it’s a bit like putting the cart before the horse. It is through familiarity with the mind of Christ that we come to know the will of God. To move to praying out of Christ’s perspective instead of our own will entail drifting through some fog until we find our sea-legs so to speak.
As a ship entering a foreign port needs a pilot to guide it safely past hidden obstacles and to its berth, we need spiritual guidance in the ways of serious prayer. Occasionally we may have a clear sense of how the Spirit is leading us but often enough we are not sure, and need help. A guide or spiritually sensitive person – an anam-chara or soul-friend in the Irish tradition – who is a mature listener can help us have a sense of where the Holy Spirit is leading us. Waiting for the return of the master is a challenging task.
Fr. QQ – 08/03/2022
Only if we believe in a new power in our midst can we let go of the old reins of control and allow the Spirit to draw us toward a new future.
– Ilia Delio OSF