Opportunities That Never Come Again
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 26, 2020
We are haunted by these first gospels of the new liturgical year. Jesus has emerged from the obscurity of his home in Nazareth to proclaim Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand! (Matthew 4:12-23). How in the world could Jesus state that the Kingdom was imminent--at hand--when in fact we have been waiting now for 2000 years!?
The people who lived at the time of Christ were receiving an opportunity that no human being before or since has ever quite experienced …. God Almighty, in the person of Jesus Christ, literally walked among them. He was only to live three more years; so, if Jesus called, they had better not miss their chance. Each day of our lives contains hidden opportunities to grow in character and faith. Peter, James, John and Andrew had to say yes when Jesus passed by. They recognized in that critical moment an opportunity that would never come again.
The Kingdom of God is at hand for us as well. The Kingdom of God, at present, is within us but none of us knows how long we have to prepare. When we die, we are immediately confronted with the absolute truth about ourselves and God’s constant love for us. Now is the time to prepare to enter the Kingdom, to be ready! Each day is a dress rehearsal for eternity and God makes use of every event, whether pleasant, unpleasant or even tragic, to prepare us.
The Lord serves up a daily banquet to us, a table literally filled with all kinds of rich foods, a feast which is called the Will of God. At times we are required to suffer intensely. Other moments are filled with great joy; still others, opportunities to serve. We are challenged to step out in faith. We are caught in traffic and must practice patience. We have relatives, co-workers, classmates or friends that bug us. These are all precious opportunities to allow the Holy Spirit to prepare us for eternity.
Can you imagine Simon and Andrew not listening to the call of Jesus as he passed by? There they were, fishing, and Jesus spoke “words” that changed their lives -Come, follow me. So, we too, must be ready to hear the Lord when he calls. This is why we pray every day, attend Mass on Sunday, and pay attention to how we treat the people around us. God is likely to call at a time we are not expecting, and we must be ready, or we will miss the opportunity that God has given us. Such a prospect is haunting indeed.