The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph – Fr. Adam Royal
December 28, 2019 – 5:00 PM
A couple of years ago, I was preaching on the passage where Jesus says, “Let the children come to me.” The instant the words left my mouth, a little girl jumped up and ran up to me at the ambo. Caught off guard, I thanked her for her participation and sent her back to her somewhat embarrassed parents. This is undoubtedly a sweet story of childlike innocence. A girl hears the Lord speak and immediately jumps into action. But the more I’ve thought about the moment, the more I’ve thought it was a profound lesson. It may be that little girl was the only true Christian in the Church that day.
After all, God speaks to all of us, but how many of us actually listen? We find every excuse imaginable to ignore his voice and go on with whatever concerns us. We say our lives are too complicated or too busy. We’ll turn to God next week when things calm down. We reinterpret his words into some nonthreatening symbolic message which conveniently excuses us from any hard work. We do whatever we can to silence that still small voice of God so that we can stay safe and comfortable.
And it is understandable. Following God can be scary. We see it in the life of Joseph. God gave him a pregnant virgin and then shipped him off to a foreign land. What is he going to do to us? We worry that God will call us out of our comfort zones, that he will send us to new places, and call us to change. We fear that God will lead us to pain and suffering. And he will. The Lord will do all of those things. He will do them because they are beneficial to us. God loves us. He is our creator and is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He loves us so much that he became one of us and suffered our every pain.
Our God is not indifferent to our sufferings. He is not remote and unmoved by our lives. The Lord shows the deepest of compassion and mercy by experiencing our lives with us. So we know that no matter what God calls us to, he has already walked that path. He has already undergone the sufferings and temptations, and he will give us the grace to follow him. The Lord knows us, and he knows what will lead us to happiness, to infinite and everlasting happiness, and that is all he wants for us. So let us listen to him and heed his words.
We should all set aside a few minutes every day for prayer. Even if all we can spare is five minutes, it will be enough. In those moments, we can layout before God what is going on in our lives and then listen to him. Listen in the silence of our hearts. Whatever he says, no matter how surprising or frightening it may be, we should do it. Like St. Joseph, or that little girl at mass, we should jump up and run to do God’s will, confident that he loves us, and he desires nothing but our good.