I had a spiritual director several years ago who asked me the same question every month when I sat down with him: “So how are you and God getting along?” Some months I knew (or I thought I knew) exactly where God was and launched into quite the discourse; other months things weren’t so obvious and I struggled to say anything at all. But apart from the passing events that happen in life, the real value of that question was
in the long term discipline of knowing that every month I would have to answer that question: “how am I getting along with God?”
It doesn’t matter how long you have professed this to be your faith, or what depths you have gone to in your knowledge and love of Jesus Christ… never stop examining your relationship with God. Never stop asking yourself if you’re getting along with him. We are human, and when humans enter into relationships there is always change and development, whether it be for good or bad. The relationship you had with your parents is different today than it was when you were a small child. The relationship you have with your best friend is different than it was when you realized he was your best friend. The relationship you have with God will also never stay idle. You move forward or you move backward, but there is no standing still in the middle of the river.
The scriptures readings today have a lot of substance to them – there’s a lot here that all of us could meditate upon in prayer. But the thread that kept pulling my attention was this consistent attitude that our fathers in faith had of looking for God. They examined their current life and situation and sought to name to the presence of God. Elijah did it in the first reading when he stepped out onto the mountain when the Lord was supposed to be passing by. He had to think and examine his surroundings – not the strong wind, not the earthquake, not the fire – but in the tiny whispering sound Elijah found the Lord present to him. St. Paul was doing it in the second reading. He knew that the Israelites were the chosen people who were given the covenants and the law – but he reflected and examined his heart to see the sorrow that his own people weren’t opening their eyes to Christ. St. Peter did it in the gospel. In the midst of the storm and the fear of death he sees Jesus walking on the water saying not to be afraid – so he listens and examines and says, “Lord, if that’s you tell me to walk out and be with you.” And even in his doubt when his mind turns from the presence of God to the fear of the storm, sinking into the depths he again calls to the presence of God and says, “Lord, save me.”
Elijah knew he was the prophet of the Lord. St. Pual knew he was adopted by Christ. St. Peter knew that Jesus was safety and salvation. But they never rested and let their relationship to God sit idle. They reflection, they examined, they named the presence of God in their lives… where it was lacking, and where it was strong. All of us here have our own relationship to Christ that draws us to this place and builds us into the Church… but we cannot sit idle and neglect to reflect on our hearts, examine our actions, and name how God has been present to us.
We must do the same, especially when the world is so unstable and in so great a storm. Never before have I woken up in the morning and thought, “gosh, I hope no nuclear missles were launched while I slept.” All the more important in times like these that we keep our eyes fixed on Christ. So I ask you this week in your life of prayer to face the question: “How are you and God getting along?”
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.