Order of Friars Minor Franciscans of Canada

Craving God… Be Ready!

Craving God… Be Ready!

 

 

On this 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time as we move towards the end of the liturgical year we are presented with the Gospel of Matthew 25. Beginning this Sunday and for the following two Matthew 25 is the center for us to reflect on. Matthew 25 is a rich text with three scenarios for us to ponder: this Sunday with the wise and foolish bridesmaids, next week the parable of the talents and the last week the image of the sheep and the goats telling us whatsoever you do to the least. All three of these pieces of scripture challenge us to be kingdom dwellers and ask us to reflect on how we build the kingdom of God here and now, not simply hope for it as an eternal reward.

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

Being kingdom dwellers is not always easy, for as the gospel says: Be ready! Keep awake! For we know not the day nor the hour!

Let me share a story with you about being ready or at least vigilant waiting:

When were kids, we could look out our north windows and see open fields (much smaller evergreens) and when we looked out our south windows we would see the open back yards of our neighbours right to the highway. So when we knew company was coming for a visit the process was the same no matter which window we looked out, it went something like this:

If our company was Uncle John & Auntie Linda coming from the north of town, one of us would be assigned to watch out the bathroom window for lights to appear on the horizon. (If relatives from the south or west the dining room window was the perch.) When lights would appear whoever was watching would shout, “I think they are coming!” and we would watch and wait for updates: “They are closer, they are closer, oh never mind, it’s not them, just another car.” “Oh wait there is another set of lights, oh they are slowing down, oh they are really slowing down, they are here! they are here!”

One of us would go and run and tell Mom and Dad with great pride, we would announce: “Uncle John and Auntie Linda are here!” As if they didn’t know already and that what somehow change that fact that they were trying to get ready themselves. We would bounce around the house, and all huddle into our narrow hallway to greet our cousins and aunt and uncle.

The waiting seemed like forever, even when we saw the car on the horizon, it seemed to creep slower to town, and from the end of our short drive way until they unloaded out of the car seemed an eternity. Oh but the endless hours of playing, of games and of food and laughter to be shared swallowed up that waiting. A foretaste, if you will, of the kingdom of heaven.

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

To be kingdom dwellers, means to be ready and keeping awake for the Lord always. For Jesus comes to us each day and comes to us in ways we fail to see or want to see. How often can we say “He is here! He is here!” like we as children announced the arrival of our guests? The truth is in our everyday living we should indeed be able to announce he is here.

The book of Wisdom reminds us that as kingdom dwellers we are called to be wisdom seekers. For true wisdom is from God and it is radiant and never fades. If only our efforts were always radiant and never fading, however we know they are not. We know that we stumble along, or we fumble up well intentioned plans or we fail to trust in God’s wisdom. Yet our God never leaves us to stray the path alone, our God always calls us back to God’s self, calling us to be vigilant and to have extra oil to trim our lamps and be ready for our God.

Come Holy Wisdom

Weave your mystery and profound gifts

into the fabric of our journey.

Blessed are you, gracious God, in your Holy Wisdom.

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

In our continually striving to be kingdom dwellers and to build the kingdom, we thirst for God, yet we know God’s steadfast love, our lives are filled as a rich banquet and we know our God is our help. In being kingdom dwellers and kingdom builders we are rooted in the paschal mystery – the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ. The letter to the Thessalonians tells us that we know that this is not our final home for we hope in life eternal, however we must be encouragers on the path of life. We must not be like the foolish bridesmaids of the gospel and not come prepared, we must let our light shine through our good deeds which will build the kingdom here and lead to the great eternal wedding banquet. The light of our good deeds should then encourage others to ensure that their lamps are fueled and that they are ready to greet the Bridegroom.

Pour forth your Spirit upon us, O God

That she might be with us and work in us,

Blessed are you, gracious God, in your holy wisdom.

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

Building the kingdom can led us through a dry and weary land. It can be slow going and challenging, it can be like the vigilant waiting of my childhood when company was coming, it can leave us feeling empty. However in the slow going, in the challenges, in the waiting, in the what can feel like emptiness we are called to focus on and use the gift of wisdom to be prepared, to keep awake, to be ready. It’s like an emergency kit in the car, or a casserole in the freezer or an extra 5 in our wallets. We do not the hour or the time when Jesus will come and bring us all into the fullness of the heavenly banquet of life, only we can prepare ourselves and encourage others on the path.

Dwell deep within us, Holy Wisdom,

Enfold us in your light,

Imbue us with strength and purpose.

Above all, hold us fast,

Guide us in your ways,

Be our constant companion.

Blessed are you, gracious God, in your holy wisdom.

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

The choice is ours. We can be the wise bridesmaids, craving our God and being prepared to greet our God.

The choice is ours.

How do we live?

When do we crave God? Always? Sometimes? When convenient? When life is rough?

Are we open to God’s call in our lives?

Do we have an open heart focused on the light?

How do we ensure our lamps are trimmed and that we have extra oil?

How do we build the kingdom and be kingdom dwellers

By letting our light shine, by being the salt of the earth, by being the body of Christ, by being nourished by the word and the Eucharist. God dwells among us and in us because God has given us the gift of being God’s children. With wisdom will we accept the free gift of grace and keep awake? For then in the being ready with the heart of a child, excited that the greatest gift we could ever receive is here, we can declare with joy and praise He is here!

God my God you I crave my soul thirsts for you like a dry and weary land.

 

 

 

* The italicized verses are one prayer entitled Prayer for Wisdom
> The bolded refrain is a sung refrain from CBWIII – 658