CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 1 December 2018

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God’s ways are not our ways

Advent takes us into the season of expectant waiting. You can expect a friend’s visit but not be able to meet him. This happens when you are in the wrong place or time for the appointment. It could be our case with God. He has already come many times in human history. He showed the place where he can be met, but perhaps we have not understood well because we end up waiting for him where he does not come.
 
This is an attempt to list a few places where we normally expect him: we would like him to be in our sickness to give us health; during economic difficulties to resolve them with a fluke; in moments of solitude to help us meet the person with whom we can have a rapport; in failure to help us re-emerge and triumph; when there’s injustice to enforce our rights; during old age to restore a bit of vigour, freshness and clarity of youth! 
 
We pray to him intensely. We try to introduce him to our narrow horizons, to involve him in our projects. We suggest he not to miss the appointment. Lost, scanning the horizon and he does not appear. He disappoints us, displaces us, and almost always disorients us.
 
The world was horrified when the Islamic State group released a video in February 2015 which showed the beheading of 21 men—20 Coptic Christians, along with a Ghanaian Christian companion. As they were killed, the men were praying to Jesus. Christians around the world cried in prayer: “God, show them your power; avenge the enemies of your Church!” Yet, nothing happened. Dejected with the absence of a response from God, some lamented: “God does not exist!”
 
Consider the kind of God we choose to believe in: We ask God to show his strength and he appears on a cross; we want to win with him and for him, and he chooses defeat. He never comes to fit in our dreams, but to realise his. It is not easy to find an appointment with him, understand the way, the time and the purpose of his coming. It is necessary to watch over ourselves, to be careful, to check, to screen our hopes and expectations to see if they coincide with what he offers us.
 
In the darkness of the primeval chaos, God came to bring his light (Genesis 1:1-2). On the night of infertility, he came to Abraham to offer his covenant and to promise him descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven (Genesis 15). “While all was in quiet silence and the night was in the middle of its course” (Wisdom 18:14), he visited his people and freed them from the bondage of Pharaoh.
 
Our moments of struggles with money, success, health, children, scholarship and friendships deprive us of sleep and breath. We suffer and we struggle, but we remain loyal to those chains that keep us enslaved. 
 
Jesus comes to set us free. He comes to illuminate our nights. He comes in that moment of loss and pain, of alienation and despair, of humiliation and abandonment and introduces us to his peace. But we have to get ready and wait for him on the streets where he usually passes. SE