Our God is a God of surprises
My dear friends,
While in the Philippines, I was asked to give a day of recollection to the young men who are making their Special Year, formerly called "novitiate." In my first talk I shared with them a talk that I had given before entitled: "Our God is a God of surprises." Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, often talks about our God as, yes, a "God of surprises."
I mention this because, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, you and I should look at the birth of Jesus as the most unbelievable surprise that ever took place in our lives. We, human beings, could never have fathomed a God who would be conceived in the womb of a young girl and born in a stable. And, yet, this is what Christmas is all about. Our God was so eager to save us that He asked His Son to become a human being. God the Son accepted and underwent the same experience that all of us experienced. He was conceived in the womb of Mary and, after nine months, was born in a stable surrounded by animals.
I want to believe that, for the shepherds, this experience must have been, yes, a big surprise. Unfortunately, for you and me, this is something that happened over 2000 years ago and, for most of us, we do not look at the birth of Jesus as a big surprise. We may be more surprised at the gifts that we receive at Christmas.
This past Saturday morning, as I was in the chapel praying, I read a prayer that I want to share with you. The author writes, "I adore You, Jesus, the Incarnate Word, come in the flesh to save mankind, coming first through the Virgin's womb, a miracle of love no one expected." Later on he continues, "I acknowledge You, Jesus, come in the flesh…to continue your incarnation on earth. I look upon You, Jesus, of whom the whole world sings: 'O Come, Let Us Adore Him'….I look upon the humility by which you came in the flesh, born as a babe in Bethlehem."
I was telling the seminarians that one of the reasons why we do not get excited about our faith is because we do not look at our God as a God of surprises. We're not open to surprises coming from God. Too often we want to control God. We want to tell God what to do. Following in the steps of Pope Francis, let us allow God to surprise us because we believe that He loves us no matter what.
Have a good Fourth Week of Advent!
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