Saturday, February 6, 2010

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Todays readings can be found here.

The scripture readings today tell us three stories of meeting God face-to-face. Isaiah, the apostle Paul and Simon Peter, James, and John all saw God, repented, and were given a mission. These readings are a reminder for us as we approach Lent, the great season of repentance and turning towards God.

When we meet God face-to-face, the experience should make us realize we want to be good, pure, and perfect in God's eyes. I'm sure in many of our lives we have hurt someone so much that we think we would rather die than live without their forgiveness. We desire more than anything to remove the wrong and restore the love, friendship and communication we once had. In scripture and in our lives, meeting God face-to-face evokes a similar response.

Many people go through their lives never having met God or forgetting that they did. A person could spend a lifetime in the pew and still wondering when God will reveal Himself. God is constantly revealing Himself to humanity. You should look back on your personal history and look for times that God was reaching out to you. Look for patterns, events, or threads that have composed your religious story, brought you to an awareness of God, formed your spirituality, and led you to faith. In those moments, God was revealing Himself. Another scenario to consider is a time when you may have felt great repentance and desire to be reunited with God. Whatever led to that moment was God's revelation.

If these prompts seem weak, and you cannot find a moment in your life where you actually experienced God, or this moment was so long ago, I encourage deep reflection prior to and during the Lenten season. An excellent workbook to use would be Discovering My Experience of God: Awareness and Witness by Frank Desiano and Kenneth Boyack. It provides a step by step spiritual exercise to help you realize where God has met you face-to-face in your life. It is a tool to help you realize your own story of conversion.

Realization that you have met God is the first step in life-long conversion. Meeting God again and again, renewal of self through repentance and a life of mission is the goal of life-long conversion. It is the goal of Jesus Christ and his work on Earth. We may not be Isiah with an angelic vision. We may not be Paul with his conversion on the road to Damascus. We may not be fishermen who witness a miracle of abundance in an empty lake. We are God's children though, and He is revealing Himself to us. We should pray for eyes to see Him.

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