Archive for December, 2008

Dealing With Disruptions

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

December 21, 2008

Fourth Sunday of Advent

2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Rom 16: 25-27; Luke1: 23-38

Dc. Larry Brockman

Bah, humbug.  It’s that time of year again.  Everything seems like a blur in these last days before Christmas, and all of your plans seem to get disrupted!  Sound familiar?  Well, it could be God’s plan is just that- to disrupt your life, and turn you another way. 

That’s what happened to Mary.  One moment she was a happy young girl, betrothed in Marriage, with her life, and I mean her life, open before her.  And in an instant, all that changed.  The angel of the Lord announced her calling to do God’s will.  What a shock.

Now there are some young women seated out there today, and the families of such young women, that I would like to ask some questions:  Just imagine how you would feel in Mary’s situation.  “Look, I know you were planning a wedding and a future, but God has other plans for you.  He wants you to drop everything, and bear God’s son.”  What would you say?  What would you do?  What would you think as parents?  How would you react to that as Mary’s brother or sister? 

And yet, that is what Advent is all about.  You see, all of you, at the coming of Jesus into the world at Christmas, are being called to drop things and follow God’s call, God’s will in your lives, whatever that is, just like Mary did.  Indeed the coming of the Savior meant that God was shaking up the World.  God was coming among his people to change things, to save us from our worldly ways, and to invite us to His Kingdom.  In just 4 days, he will come again amongst us, and His intent is to shake us up too.  So, let’s look at Mary’s call a little closer to see how God wants us to respond.   

Notice that the angel tells Mary she was chosen by God. That means she was not bearing God’s Son because of something she did or didn’t do.  She did not act to merit her call.  Rather, she was bearing Jesus because she was chosen.  That was what God wanted her to do with the talents and life He gave her.  God made each of you too, and chose you for something.  Second, unlike the annunciation of John the Baptist to Zechariah, who was skeptical, and challenged the angel-  Mary simply wanted to know how all of this could happen, and what she had to do.  That means Mary accepted the call in her heart, despite any conflicts she may have had in her mind.  You are called to listen with your hearts and respond, despite any conflicts you may have.  Mary ultimately declares “Your will be done”.  You are being called to do the same.   

How do you know you are being called, and to what are you being called?  If you are struggling with uncertainty with what to do with your life, this is the perfect time of the year to pray about it and let God answer your prayer.  Pick a time, go to some quiet place, like the Adoration Chapel or the room in the New Life Center we have set up, and ask God for His help.  You may not be struck by a bolt of lightning, and be visited by an angel, but God will nudge you in the right direction.  Follow that call to find peace.   

For most of you, already engaged in the mainstream of life, the problem is so much activity that you can’t hear any message from the Lord.  But God is calling you to make a change.  He is always calling you to something better.   Like a good coach, God is always trying to get folks to do something out of their comfort zone.  He does that because He wants you all to grow, and to shed some of your imperfections.  That means you may be disrupted, and asked to do something you feel uncomfortable with.  It may not be a dramatic change, but some change for the better.  This time of the year, when you are all busy, there are three ways your plans can be disrupted:  First, you may find someone who needs help right now when you are the busiest.  If so, don’t resist that call.  Take the time and do what’s right to help that person.  Second, it may dawn on you in the middle of all these Holiday Celebrations, that something popular and fashionable is against Church teachings, and can cause damage to you or others- There’s a message in that for you to be courageous, and go against the current.  Third, when you are tired, fed up, or angry, it is then that you are called to be more like Jesus- to go the extra little bit to be patient, keep cool, and hold your tongue.  None of these things are drastic; but all of them lead you a little bit more in the direction God has chosen for you.   

Now I know that sometimes it seems like when you respond to these disruptions, you think nothing really comes of it, but consider this story.  During WW II, a German speaking pastor in New England ministered to his German speaking US congregation in German.  At the pastor’s funeral, in the 50’s, the priest noticed a stranger.  It seems the Government had sent an agent to listen to the pastor’s sermons each week during the war,   Suspicious that the German pastor was sowing seeds of insurrection amongst his German speaking congregation.   But instead, the agent heard wonderful homilies each week, which motivated him to convert to Catholicism.  He couldn’t identify himself to the pastor- after all, he was acting under cover.  And so, the pastor never knew what impact he had on this person’s life.  Just the same, whenever you take the time to respond to a disruption by doing what’s right.  You never know who is watching, who is listening, and who may be moved by your actions.