Gn 15:5-12, 17-18
Open Our Hearts
Think about your closest friend. That relationship did not happen overnight. There may have been instant attraction but it takes a long time to really know another person. The same is true of the apostles who were called to follow Jesus. Gradually they came to know more about Jesus each time they saw him in his daily encounters with all kinds of people. With each healing they came to understand that Jesus had within him compassion and a power for good. When they heard Jesus preach they came to understand some of his deepest thoughts. In the gospel for this Sunday Peter, James and John received special insight about Jesus’ identity when they were present at the Transfiguration and heard God’s voice identifying Jesus as Son.
We, too, have to gradually come to know Jesus better each day. We have not had the intimate experiences the apostles had but we do have our own experiences that show us God’s compassion and power in our lives. Think of the times someone showed you love, compassion or forgiveness, or when you heard a homily that touched your heart. How did you feel when you saw a rainbow or spring flowers popping up through the snow? These are times when God is present to you and you come to know God’s goodness in your life.
The Collect (Alternative Opening Prayer) for Mass this Sunday reminds us to be open to the times and places God interacts with us.
“Open our hearts to the voice of your Word
and free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision.
Restore our sight that we may look upon your Son
who calls us to repentance and change of heart…”
It takes conscious effort on our part to be open to the presence of God in our lives. The apostles had to reflect on what they experienced with Jesus. We have to do the same. We need to be aware daily of the experiences we have. “Open our hearts to the voice of your word.” Are we aware that God speaks to us through scripture and sometimes through the voices of others? “…free us from the original darkness that shadows our vision.” Are our eyes open to see the wonders of nature as a reflection of God? Do the good acts of others prompt us to do the same? “Restore our sight…” Are we open to restoration so that we come to know our God and are able to deepen our relationship with our God who always seeks us, loves us, forgives us?
Paul tells us in his Letter to the Philippians that we should “Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us.” Paul converted from an enemy of Jesus to become the voice and face of a true follower of Jesus. We are called daily to do the same.
When are you aware of the presence of God in your life?
What hinders you from being open to the presence of God all around you?