One of my favorite bumper stickers reads, “Everyone: Jesus is coming. Make sure to look busy!” The biblical descriptions of the end of the world are full of descriptions of the world at war, diseases and famine ravaging the human population, and the omnipresence of death. When Jesus does come again in glory, everyone will want to look like as if they have not contributed to the dismal state of the world. It is only when we know the end is coming that we start living the way we know God wants us too.
A story attributed to St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian Jesuit saint, presents a different way of thinking about the end times. The story goes that Aloysius was playing billiards with other Jesuit seminarians in the recreation room of their Jesuit residence. One of the Jesuits began a conversation asking what they would do if they heard Jesus was coming, and the next day would be the end of the world. One Jesuit said he would go to confession right away; another said he would head to the chapel to spend all night in vigil before the Blessed Sacrament. St. Aloysius said he would finish the billiards game. He was convinced that God wanted him to play pool and enjoy it.
The surprising answer of Aloysius reveals a fundamental conviction and task for Christians. The conviction is that our normal day activities—working, caring for family and friends, paying bills, answering emails, watching T.V., etc.—are things that are pleasing to God. What God wants us to do is to give ourselves fully in loving service to one another. We can find God in those activities working in us and for us. The challenge comes from being continually open to God as if he is coming to us each and every day. Living each day as if we are to meet the Lord at the end of it (or during it) is not our normal mindset. If we live with the expectation that we meet Jesus in everyday life, we will be seeing a friend again when Jesus comes in glory. We will not be meeting a God only to feared.
How do I try to meet Jesus in the moments of my everyday life?