Thursday of the Twenty-first Week in Ordinary Time
A French Catholic Philosopher Jacques Maritain once explained that the Church is, in the Christian view, a supernatural mystery. He said, “The Church is not only a visible and apparent reality, but also an object of faith. She is not a system of administrative cog-wheels but the Body of Christ whose living unity is incomparably more elevated and strong than anything in this world. We describe the Church as the moral personality as she is guaranteed by the action of the Holy Ghost.” (Jacques Maritain, The Things That Are Not Caesar’s).
Nonbelievers will likely see that the Church, which relies on the Holy Spirit, as an absurd and unintelligent institution. They could easily see the believers as deluded and the Church as destined for decline. All of their predictions are based on human indicators and determined by human agency. History tells us that there is always an element of surprise from the Church. No one would predict in the year 300 that the persecuted Church would become the official religion of the Empire. No one would predict in 1978, a young Cardinal from Poland would become the Pope and lead the fight to bring down communism.
In the Gospel reading today, we hear that our God is the God of surprise. The Lord often comes when we least expect Him. He knows how and when to surprise us. As Jesus said,” For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Imagine yourself encountering a surprise from God. What kind of a surprise encounter is it? How do I feel to see the surprise? Can you recall an experience of God’s surprise in your life? How did it feel? Speak to Jesus about those moments of surprise and tell him how you feel about those experiences?