Sr. Susan Nchubiri, MM, reflects on how we can be always prepared to welcome Jesus in our neighbor.
In our daily lives, making plans and appointments is a routine practice among us. We make appointments for various reasons, and we keep those appointments without fail. A young couple who are expecting their first miracle prepare themselves emotionally and materially to welcome their first baby. We like to prepare ourselves for situations that we can plan and foresee.
The COVID-19 pandemic that all of us have been experiencing has taught us a different side of our human nature. Not even a single country or an individual was prepared for the pandemic. It took everyone by surprise. In the light of COVID-19, the Afghanistan crisis, and the horrific situation at the U.S. southern border, I was immediately drawn to these uncomfortable words in today’s Scripture passages: “unsurpassed in distress,” “everlasting horror and disgrace,” “tribulation; sun will be darkened; moon will not give light; stars will be falling from the sky; powers in heavens will be shaken.”
However, on a second look at the Scriptures, I was awed by the more consoling and life-giving words such as, “shall arise a guardian of your people; many …shall awake; live forever; shine brightly; splendor of the firmament; lead many to justice, shall be like the stars forever, my soul rejoices; path to life; fullness of joy; forgiveness; tender; made perfect.” These are words of hope! Words of life!
Today’s Scripture readings offer us Jesus as a sign of hope. Jesus is our hope not in the future but for today. Mark proclaims, “they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory… and gather the elect from the four winds.” God offers Jesus to us every day in every situation of our lives. We don’t have to wait to meet Jesus. He is here; he is among us. But are we prepared to meet him and accept him as the center of our lives, our family and our society? Are we prepared to see him in our fellow brothers and sisters: the refugee, the migrant, the homeless, the marginalized? Do we see him in the environment around us? Or are we too focused on the troubles of daily life that we miss the opportunity to embrace the hope?
In Jesus there is no timeline. We are called upon to be prepared to accept Jesus every moment. We are called upon to keep the door of our hearts, our family and our society open for Jesus. Are we prepared for the challenge that is front of us? Are we prepared to welcome Jesus in the stranger at our door, in the those who different from us?
In this reflection I have lifted specific words from today’s Scriptures. I do believe that words have power. Words evoke emotions and even action. I invite each of us ponder these questions: what is the Word of God asking of me today? What emotions does it evoke in me? How am I asked to respond? How do I make Jesus the center of my life? Jesus is the hope for today, tomorrow and every day.