Today at Mass, there were two young children in the pew in front of us with their parents. It was quite evident that three of the four really didn’t want to be there, the two kids and the father. It brought me back to when I was young, I didn’t want to be there either. This started me thinking about how my life has changed, especially in the last year.
Now, I want to be there. I actually look forward to my weekly visit to church, although I admit it isn’t always easy to get to mass with only one operational vehicle. I find I get so much more out of it now. Ah, with age comes wisdom.
Today’s homily was particularly meaningful to me as well. It was based on today’s Gospel reading, Matthew 2: 1 – 12, where the three Kings or the Magi came to visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. Fr. Peter connected two other Gospel readings with this one, Luke 2: 8 – 20, where the angel announces to the shepherds that Jesus has been born, and to Isaiah 60 (and other prophets, who told of Jesus’ coming and that he would be born in Bethlehem. Father told us how Jesus sends us signs every day, but we are always too busy to see them.
This hit me right between the eyes, as it took me many, many years to take the time to seek and find the messages and signs which Jesus was sending to me. I have written about what I call the “Door” story, where I had prayed to God for help, and He literally opened the door to me. There were others as well, like when He told me it was time to go back to church and to confession. For forty plus years, I had been too busy to see the signs, to recognize them.
Let me quote another passage from Matthew, 7: 7 – 9:
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks, find. and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
It took me a long time to realize that was all I had to do. Well, not quite all, I had to ask and then I had to listen. Jesus does talk to us everyday, in many ways. It is up to us to listen, to see, to understand, what is being said to us. There are many ways He talks to us, I have had messages, I don’t consider them visions, come to me through dreams, through other people’s actions, through reading scripture and prayer. Sometimes it might take me a little while to understand what Jesus s trying to tell me, but sooner or later, after I mull it over for awhile, it will hit me.
We all live busy lives, and there are many outside influences in our lives which are trying to keep God from our lives. It is a struggle to keep Jesus in our hearts and lives. It is very easy for us to just give in to the temptation out there in the secular world, I know from experience just how easy it is. Fortunately I have found my way back. While I am still not where I need to be, I am a lot closer than I was a few years ago, even last year at this time.
Slow down, take time to listen to what Jesus is telling you. I promise it will be worth it.