When looking at the readings of the day it’s easy to skip over the psalm between the first reading and gospel. This is unfortunate because these ancient prayers often carry the key to a deeper understanding of the scriptures, and every psalm is a prayer that Jesus would have known by heart and prayed regularly.
Take a moment to consider the responsory from today’s psalm: “Here is our God, coming with power.”
Power gets a pretty negative press these days with so many reports of the misuse and abuse of power. If we refer to a person as powerful we are not necessarily complementing them.
However without power our world would not function.
And without the power of God humans cannot function happily and healthily.
This is because in the same way that the computer I am typing on at this moment needs to be physically connected to a power supply, a human being needs to be connected to God. This need for connection is not a flaw in the computer design. Neither is my need for connection with God a flaw or a weakness in my humanity. The need I have for the power of God is by divine design.
My major problem in life is that I don’t tap this divine power often enough. I forget just how needy I really am and I politely turn to God periodically for a bit of help instead of calling out constantly and desperately as a beggar who knows his need and reaches out in need of everything.
Too often we fall into the trap of reducing God to a “spiritual” being considering Jesus to be more like a childhood “imaginary friend.” We miss the fact that scriptures are persistent and consistent in reminding us that Jesus is present really, physically and tangibly and He wants to use His divine power to work miracles in our lives.
The presence and action of Jesus in your life in December 2018 is as real as the beating of your heart, and there are moments (albeit at times rare) when our being vibrates with excitement at the presence of God-with-us.
The power of God who created the world, parted the waters for the Israelites, healed the sick, gave the blind sight, restored life to those who were dead, this power of God is available to us today. All we need to do is call out and ask.
In Christchurch hospital a few months ago I noticed a poster on the door of the chaplaincy office which read: “Don’t tell God that you have a big problem. Tell your problem that you have a big [and powerful] God!”
In a homily recently I reflected that we often consider God to be something of a good neighbour who doesn’t live in our house but who is often available to give us a hand when we need it. We begin a meeting praying (and I exaggerate here for effect): Lord come down from your far away heaven and give us a hand for the next hour or two. Then at the end of the meeting we pray (again I exaggerate for effect): Lord thank you for being with us and for your help. Good bye!
Our prayer needs to be more immediate, more desperate and more urgent praying that we will be open to the power of God:
you are present.
You are powerful.
But our own fears and agendas
blind us to your presence
and we are nervous
about letting your power loose in our lives
because we fear that your will for us
might be different from our will for ourselves.
Open our senses to the power of your love
Give us the wisdom to know
that your ways will bring us deeper joy and greater success
than we would ever ask or imagine.
Take away our fear
and help us to welcome
your power into our lives.
The reflections of FFF readers in the comments section of these posts has always been an essential part of the nourishment shared here. However in these Advent weeks readers’ comments have moved to a new depth and power with a significant number of you expressing gratitude to me for what others are sharing.
Please don’t be afraid to share a sentence or two or a paragraph. Taking time to share in this way not only helps you to appreciate the presence and action of Jesus in your own life, Your words can also be a great encouragement to others.