Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

“ prophet arises from Galilee.” (John 7:53)

Jesus worked many signs among the people: John’s gospel is all about them. They pointed to who He was. Many believed, many did not: those who did not want to believe were looking for reasons in the Scripture. Much of the quarrel was about where Jesus was born, and where Scripture said He would be born.

We are naturally drawn to romantic settings – “city of David” for instance. Perhaps because I was born in Brooklyn and raised in Jersey (“New Jersey” is where wealthier people live, Jackie Kennedy, President Nixon – horses too) I am more prone to this romanticism than most. I have travelled all over the world and been in many wonderful, deeply moving places. And yet I can honestly say I experienced my vocation call at a Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge near Exit 3 on the New Jersey Turnpike; and, after I had taken my vows, the Lord let me thrash around the world of Washington where I was working with street people in considerable desolation – but He came and walked with me when at Christmas I spent a day at the Jersey Shore, on Long Beach Island. What good could come from Jersey? Much – for me, a lifetime’s worth!

And so it is with our discernment. People in the world love to impress by symbols of status, suburbs named after British villages – Americans perhaps more than most, since we know little of pedigree and lineages. And yet Our Lord has told us that He is among us “as one who serves,” that He prefers to be with the poor and the lowly, that we are to find Him in unexpected places (cf. Mt. 25).  So let us walk gently in our judgments of who matters and why: God has a way of being most present where and when we least expect Him.  He is, after all, God, and turning our expectations upside down is His prerogative.

March 12th, 2016