Pray Listen and Act
You may not know that I am one who is interested the Titanic story. There is so much there that goes beyond the story of a ship that hits and iceberg and sinks and there is a lesson there as well.
Many believe what caused the Titanic to sink is that it hits an iceberg that damaged enough of the hull that it took on water and sunk in less than three hours. In fact, the 1997 movie on purpose runs the same length of time as it took the ship to sink.
The prime cause of the disaster actually goes well beyond the iceberg, actually that would be a secondary cause or better yet the disaster that was bound to happen because of everything else that was in place. Many will tell you what really caused the ship to sink was calm seas, a thermal layer on the water and the accidental loss of the key to the locker containing binoculars for the lookouts. All of that made it impossible to see the iceberg. Adding that the ship was going at maximum speed to demonstrate its power and you have all the ingredients for the sinking to happen.
The most important elements is that the lookouts were practically operating blind without the binoculars and due to natural conditions. The first line of defense offered none until it was too late.
If you look at today’s Gospel for this the first Sunday of Advent. A good question to ask is who are we. Jesus makes it clear that the end is coming. It is not that we arrive at port where he is seated, instead he will come to us.
So in the whole scenario of things who are we in the world. Not only who am I, but who are we. The answer? The Lookouts.
You and I are the ones who are called to read the signs of the time to be signs of God’s presence in the world. We are here to alert others to be ready so that they will not be caught when the Lord arrives and neither will we.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says watch. So, be the lookouts and be ready so that we can alert others. Live your faith as Christ called you to be. For this is what Jesus called us to do.
St. Thomas Aquinas says among other saints that all the power given to the apostles was also given to us in his Church for the edification of the Church.
What did the Apostles do with that power? Evangelize and strengthen the Church. What is our role? evangelize and strengthen the Church so it can be the vessel of God’s salvation.
How do we do it? How did the Apostles do it? Pray, listen and act.
They prayed daily as they learned from Jesus. He prayed daily so that he would do the Father’s will. His whole mission was to be totally obedient to the father. They listened to the holy spirit through their prayer, through the words of the then forming Church, through their own encouragement and even correction and finally they acted by living the gospel for others.
So to be ready we must do the same thing. We must pray, listen and act.
We must also discern through all this as did the apostles deciding what is God’s will and what is not.
Like the Titanic we must be aware of that unknown force that will overwhelm us as it did the ship. The unknown force for the titanic was their own hubris in light of the power of nature. The lack of humility made them subject to that force.
We must be aware of the same thing. We must be aware of those things that make us prideful and blind us to the Lord’s actions in the world. That is what the devil does. Fills us with hubris, pride and blinds us to the Lord’s call while leading us to focus where he wants us to focus. So again using the analogy of the Titanic, the focus was on the it being an allegedly unsinkable ship and not on the true power of nature.
We must act with humility and trust that the Lord will lead us through through all he has called us to as long as we do not get distracted.
The difference between us and the Titanic is that we have the Lord guiding us. Remember that ship conquered nature in the eyes of the believers. The ship could not sink that simple fact blinded them to the reality of its vulnerability.
Jesus told us what is coming and told us where to focus. He also told us to focus on him and he will get us to our destination which is eternal life with him. We cannot do this alone. We cannot figure it out without him and we be the lookouts if we do not pay attention.
There are many distractions that will lead us to look away and miss all the clues. We must discern them and avoid them.
Let me give you an example. People are afraid of several things including the warnings in the Book of Revelation and they see some hints and worry if this will happen. Where do you need to focus? How does the book of revelation end? God wins.
That must be our focus. What is our message. God is calling you to live that message everyday.
Let use all the tools. Later on in the month I am going to offer you the idea to do a 33 day consecration to our blessed mother. If we time it right we can do it at or around the inauguration so that we can be offer ourselves to the Lord as the country moves forward in serve to God and our neighbors. Let us do that for there is much work to be done and we are the lookouts on station.
Photo credit: By W.carter - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94440767