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Christ Comes Every Day - But Do We Recognize Him?

Father Francis's picture
First Week of Advent

Mt. 24:37-44

What does Jesus mean when He tells us that His coming will be a repeat of what happened in Noah's time? The people then went about their daily lives, failing to repent and never suspecting that a flood would come and sweep them away.

By this Jesus is telling us He will come to us in the midst of everyday living when we least expect Him. He summed up this passage by saying, "Therefore, you must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." What is the moment we least expect Jesus?

We believe that He came long ago as the Babe of Bethlehem. We believe that He will come again at the end of the world. But we do not expect Him to come today, most certainly not to our house nor our place of work. But since Jesus says He will come when we least expect Him, this must be the most likely time and place for us to find Him - right here and right now!

We have to admit that most of our lives are ordinary. It is only in films, on television and in novels that people are always involved in some kind of excitement. They survive plane and car crashes, experience dramatic court scenes or rescue people from burning buildings. These kinds of exciting things do happen, but not to us. We work, eat, sleep and then get up and start all over again.

At weekends there may be a change from the ordinary. Perhaps we visit the hairdresser, do the laundry that has piled up during the week or shop in the supermarket. We may even treat ourselves to a meal. And on Saturday evening or Sunday we go to Mass … before Monday comes again. This is the routine of living. It was called 'blessed monotony' by some man of wisdom.

That is an apt description of most of our days and, if Christ is to be a real part of our lives, this is where we must find Him. When you come to think of it, that is where most people met Him in the New Testament: Saint Paul's blinding vision on the road to Damascus was the exception. Peter, Andrew, James and John met Jesus while cleaning their nets beside the Sea of Galilee, something they did every day. But Christ came to them and they followed Him. The rest is history. The woman of Samaria met Him while she was at the well drawing water. Matthew met Him at work in his tax collecting office. These were their everyday activities.

This is how people met Jesus when He walked this Earth. Why do we expect to meet Him in a dramatic way? If we do we are going to be disappointed. We must look for Him in the ordinary and learn to recognise Him. If I understand the New Testament correctly, it teaches us that Jesus travels with His true identity concealed. He will not appear in a middle-eastern robe, with sandals on His feet and wearing a beard, as artists portray Him. If He did, we would not recognise Him - we might take Him to be someone in fancy dress!

Jesus is the master of many disguises. One day He will be an old woman in a wheelchair at a nursing home. Another day, He will be a child wanting someone to read him a book. Or a patient in hospital needing a visitor, a teenager desperate for encouragement, a single mother in need of a baby sitter. Tomorrow, He might be a wife, wanting a hug.

It is good for us to anticipate the coming of Jesus at the end of the world. But in the meantime, if we find Him at all, it will be in the midst of ordinary living. This has to be one of the messages of the Advent season.

Lord Jesus, the people in Noah's time were not prepared when You visited them. Let us be ready every day to welcome You in one of Your many clever disguises.

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