32nd Ordinary – Year B: Jesus Is Knocking
Bottom Line: We have taller buildings, but shorter temper; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses, but smaller families. We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment.
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong (St. Teresa of Avila – Grovetown, GA)
33rd Ordinary – Year B
Jesus is knocking!
One of my favorite pieces of religious arts is a painting of Jesus holding a lamp, standing outside of a door, knocking. What a beautiful image that is. On the one hand, it conveys God’s love to human kind and on the other; it tells us the reality of the human heart, and of its stubbornness.
Today is the last Sunday of ordinary time. We are preparing to enter into a new liturgical year, a new beginning. All three readings talk about the time of the Lord’s second coming. The time that no one knows, “neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Though, we do not know the time when the Lord will come, but we surely know that Jesus is still here and lives among us. He still comes and knocks on our door, the door that leads to our soul.
Back to the painting, we surely know, Jesus cannot open that door and enter into our house, unless we assist him, by opening the door from the inside, since the door has no doorknob on the outside. In other words, Jesus can only enter when we “allow” him to be let in. Yet, there are several times we do not open that door. We might have thousands of reasons to give. However, they are merely human reasons – no more, no less, no better than the one given by the people of Jesus’ time for their mis-interpretation of the sign of the second coming.
Not only have we stopped Jesus from entering into our house, we have also chased Jesus out of our homes. We have ignored and trashed his teachings, and instead, brought in and treasured the unnecessary, the material, and the things belonging to evil. We have learned how to make a living, but not a life; we have added years to life, but not life to years. We have done larger things, but not better things. We have cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We have split the atom, but not prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We have learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.
We have taller buildings, but shorter temper; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses, but smaller families. We have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment.
We have more experts, yet more problems: more medicine but less wellness. we drink too much smoke too much, spent too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry stay up too late, gate up too tired, read too little watch TV too much and pray too seldom. we have multiply our possession, but reduce our value we talk too much, love too seldom and hate to often.
This are the time of fast foods and slow digestion: big man and small character; steep profit and shallow relationship these are the days of two incomes but more divorce; fancier house but broken homes. These are the days of quick trip, disposal diapers, throw away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheers to quick, to kill. It is time when there much in the show window and nothing in the stack room. We have been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbors.
My dear brothers and sisters, the list can go on and on, but I stop here to make a point. That is, if Jesus, in the darkness of the night is still going out, with a lamp in his hands, to knock on doors in search of lost souls, then we must also reach outside of our “security blanket” to meet and help others. Only when we do that, then we are not afraid of Jesus’ second coming, and we are not afraid of distressing images of death and destruction that we hear in today’s readings. Why? Because we know we have done what we are supposed to do; we have lived a life worth living, and most importantly, we have done the will of God, we have continued the work of Jesus: searching and reaching out to others!
I want to end with a short story. There is an atheist traveling in Ireland who fell into conversation with a young girl. “I suppose you believe the whale swallowed Jonah,” he mocked. “I do,” she replied. “How will you ever know for sure?” he pressed. “I’ll ask him when I go to heaven,” she replied. “And what if he’s not there?” he asked. She looked at him with pity and said, “Then you ask him.”
The question for each one of us to ponder is: Will I open my door for Christ to come in, and then bring the “Christ” that I have received to my friends, neighbors, and family?
Father Martino Nguyen Ba-Thong