beyond the fog

Dec 16, 2023

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I used to think that the people who lived two thousand years ago in the land we called holy had a great advantage. They could hear Jesus speak and witness the miracles he worked.

Perhaps (I wondered) this is the kind of here-and-now evidence that my frail little faith needs?

However the ministry of Jesus didn’t seem that convincing for people like me.

Certainly many were impressed by his wisdom and startled by his miracles, for a while, until the next entertainer came to town. Three years of full time ministry seemed to, when it came down to the end, win over perhaps a dozen disciples, a pretty weak lot including the denier, the betrayer, and the others who headed for the hills at the first hint of trouble.

One thousand years before Christ the prophet the Elijah (in today’s first reading) “arose like a fire, his word flaring like a torch”. He brought down fire, as one among many spectacular signs, and was “taken up to heaven in a chariot with fiery horses” – all to “to turn the hearts of fathers towards their children”. Those who witnessed this were delighted, impressed and Elijah was the talk of the nation.

But Jesus reminds the people of his own day “that Elijah has come already and they did not recognise him but treated him as they pleased; and the Son of Man will suffer similarly at their hands.” (Today’s Gospel reading).

No doubt after a big day out watching fiery chariots head for heaven, (Elijah) or seeing the dead restored to health or returned to life (Jesus) the multitudes went back home where they were quickly absorbed with cooking dinner, getting the kids to do their homework and off to bed. Then an hour or two awake in the night worried about health or finances, relationships and work.

Our problem is that our fog which may have lifted for a moment in a day, soon returns and settles as our default setting, and we forget to savour the remarkable things that we have seen and heard in the hours just past.

Take a moment now to invite Jesus to remind you of a significant moment of encounter with him in the last day or two. Don’t try to think of one. Simply invite him to reveal to you what he wants you to remember, perhaps a high-point or a challenge, a break-through moment, or an opportunity for you to invite him to reveal himself.

And now expect to see and hear Jesus in these moments in your own life. When we experience this present encounter we become grateful that we are living here and now and not then and there.

What do you think?

Take a moment to share a thought in the comments section below. Your reflections are a great help to other readers.

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11 Comments

  1. Thank you John the fog in my life was getting in the way I can see that now. With the Lords help I will do better at listening to his voice. God bless

    Reply
    • Amen ✝️

      Reply
  2. Hi Fr John,
    A question:
    How can the present circumstances not become the “fog”? Shouldn’t those worries be the place where Jesus becomes present to us?

    Reply
  3. Thank you John. My high point and reflection was watching all the school children enact the nativity play in their own individual way. Seeing their joy and enjoyment in this little play showed me the loving face of Jesus.
    Also, helping this week at our Community lunch and seeing the old and lonely, and those struggling in today’s world as well as parishioners enjoying the fellowship and food was another revelation on Gods love.

    Reply
    • Beautiful; praise God! ✝️

      Reply
  4. What is this fog, that lifts in the moment of encounter, but then returns and we are left questioning once again? We live in this fog, the mentality of our world where God is down played and we carry on as if He is not there. May the fog lift a little in our hearts this Christmas as we become aware of Emmanuel (God with us).

    Reply
    • Wow! What a lovely prose! God bless and thank you for sharing! ✝️

      Reply
  5. Elijah, however, found himself alone and desperate in a cave, where he was aroused by the still, small voice of God.

    Maybe we are waiting for the cyclone or earthquake to do our arousing for us, instead of heeding that still, small voice?

    Reply
  6. My highlight for the week is a clear CT cancer scan for my wife Mary. We have been blessed with healing this thanks to skilled medical treatment and much healing prayer by many people. God is good! What a gift at Christmas

    Reply
  7. My highlight for the week is a clear CT cancer scan for my wife Mary. We have been blessed with healing this thanks to skilled medical treatment and much healing prayer by many people. God is good! What a gift at Christmas.

    Reply
  8. My tendency to analyse things, creates a fog of doubt, sometimes leading to a better conclusion and sometimes into more fog! As I age, I recognise more the need to train our minds with God’s Word, with prayer. I “get” the practises of self denial ever more! And yes, Jesus visits my days with those wee encounters.

    Reply

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