Daily Reflections
by Cathy

The God who surprises!

Mirjana greets Our Lady on January 2, 2019 at the Blue Cross
(c) Anthonly Zubac 2019


January 7, 2019

St. Raymond of Pennafort

Dear Family of Mary!

On the Feast of the Epiphany, Fr. Marinko, the parish pastor of Medjugorje, gave a beautiful homily about the Magi and the grace they had to seek Jesus, the Newborn King. He makes a very good point about the difference between a living faith and a knowledge of the faith that is not alive. I have transcribed it here so that we can ponder his words to us. Are we open to the mystery of God, or are we content with our knowledge of God, limited as it might be? (I have transcribed the translation of his homily by the parish.)

Homily of the International Mass on Sunday, January 6, 2019 by Fr. Marinko:

Dear Brothers and sisters, perhaps you know the story of a young boy who came crying to his grandfather and said, “Grandpa, while we played we were trying to hide from each other, and I was hiding. And my friends were no longer looking for me.” He came to his grandfather, sad that they were no longer looking for him. And the Grandpa said, “My dear child, it is the same with God. God is hiding and people do not look for Him.”

Brothers and sisters, God is hidden. God is hidden. St. Thomas of Aquinas says it is easier to know what God isn’t rather than to know what God is. God is hidden. God is not known. This is our starting point, but today’s Feast of the Epiphany says to us that the hidden God is being revealed to us. He appeared, particularly, in Jesus Christ.

And that, brothers and sisters is the mystery, the best example of mystery. That is what goes beyond each one of us, beyond all of our reason. If we treat it like that then we will discover that mystery that comes to us, that appears to us. Today before us too, it is important to come down to that. It is important to come to that mystery so that we would say, God does not surprise men, God is different than man thinks. God is greater than all the thoughts that man might have. If we started with that, then we would be opening to that mystery. To the crisis that even today exists, that God surprises men. That it is not expected that God would appear there, yet God appears there to those people who say it is not possible. Men say no, I don’t expect that God would appear, and yet God does appear.

So, brothers and sisters, this is our starting point. So we can start to understand what takes place in Jerusalem. The Wise Men come, Wise Men from the East who were searching. They came to Jerusalem to those who would know, would have the knowledge. To Herod and to the Scribes and Pharisees. And something unusual takes place. That those who are far, far from Israel’s people and the Word of God that God gave to His people Israel, that they would come to know the mystery. And those who are close, Herod and the Scribes and the Pharisees, those who know, who have knowledge, would not get to know that mystery.

I think that one of the reasons is that they are safe in their knowledge, and they are convinced that they have the knowledge. They are not being surprised by the new signs of God, the new work of God. And they have remained in Jerusalem, they do not move. They even know how to show the direction to the Wise Men, to say that the place is there, but they remain.

Brothers and sisters, unlike them, the Wise Men had some characteristics that are very important. They were people who were able to listen, to see, to recognize, those who are exploring astronomers. People who are able to see through some kind of signs, they see something special. They are able to recognize things through people who hear voices, they even listen to Herod and some of the Scribes say to them, but they don’t stop there, they don’t remain. They go forward. They are awake. And when they find [the baby], they listen to the Holy Spirit, who says to them, “No don’t go back to Jerusalem, take the other route. Take the other way.”

So brothers and sisters, these are some of the qualities of people that are so important. To be awake, to be able to discern, to be able to listen to God’s voice, to what God says to us today.

What is important for us today? God even today appears. God is revealed to us today, especially we who are in the parish of Medjugorje, we are the witnesses of that. But brothers and sisters, the same thing that happened to Herod and the Scribes can happen to us. It can happen that we have the knowledge, that we know, but we just remain in the knowledge. We even show it to others, we even show them the way – this is the Church, this is the prayer program, this is visionaries, this is the hills – we know that. But we still remain in that knowledge, and we don’t get to know the mystery. And those who come from afar, they get to know the mystery. They get to know it. They are able to go back, different.

So brothers and sisters, this is the occasion to find what is possible. It is important to raise that question today. Perhaps I am in that situation, the situation of Herod and the Scribes and Pharisees. Maybe I have the knowledge of the faith, but maybe I am missing the personal encounter, maybe I am missing the need to move forward, to start to go forward. We don’t need to reject the knowledge, but knowledge is not enough. Knowledge is like a finger, the finger that points to something, someone. But that’s not it. Knowledge speaks about something, but there is another destination and we need to move to come to it.

That is why Our Lady invites us to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. To pray with the heart. Not just a prayer, but the prayer of the heart. This is the condition of the spirit, the spirit that is open, the spirit that listens, the spirit that seeks. Where is that Newborn King? Yes, I know many things, I have much experience. Yes. But never enough. I will never be able to say, yes, I know everything. The best definition is the Faith in the Eucharist of God. The Eucharist is the mystery of faith. When we say that, then we are open to that mystery.

We need reason, we need the will, we need emotions, we need to look, we need to listen, but the most important of all is to listen, to be open always again to that mystery, that great mystery, which we can do through our meditation during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in silence. Because that mystery is the mystery that surprises. We would never expect that God, the Great God, would come into a little piece of bread. We would never expect that this Great God would appear in one Child. But God surprises. But God is different, God is greater than all of our thoughts, all of our perceptions. People sometimes stop at some kind of knowledge. They cannot go forward. They are called atheists or something else.

They stop. Someone said that atheists are those people who did not have patience. That is what is necessary. Patience in adoration, patience in listening, patience in the opening of the heart, patience to be open to God. The God who comes, who appears today, brothers and sisters, now and right here. Amen.

Our Lady just said to us:

“…My children, do not forget that my Son brought the light to this world, and He brought it to those who wanted to see it and receive it. You be those, because this is the light of truth, peace and love. I am leading you in a motherly way to adore my Son; that you love my Son with me; that your thoughts, words and actions may be directed to My Son – that they may be in His name. Then my heart will be fulfilled. Thank you.” (January 2, 2019)

Mother, may we be like the Wise Men, who wondered, who sought, who listened, and who found Jesus in the most unlikely place, a stable in Bethlehem. May we seek Him, and look for His surprise presence!

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
(c)Mary TV 2019

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Why He Is A Saint, the Life and Faith of Pope John Paul ll and the Case for Canonization, p. 168, by Msgr. Slawomir Oder, Postulator for his Cause of Sainthood

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