Change and Growth
As Church, it’s the "Fourth Week of Ordinary Time", it’s February 2015 – and it’s and post-Super Bowl. Truly "Ordinary" time, between major civic holidays…and we’re encouraged as Christians to deepen our spiritual lives, to live for the Lord, and grow.
The people of Jesus’ time were "astonished" when Jesus returned home to Nazareth, teaching with authority in the synagogue. "Where did this man get all this? … Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary…?" The people had taken a mental snapshot of Jesus years earlier, and they couldn’t accept that Jesus had changed and grown…now a convincing preacher, a powerful healer, a man of authority. They lacked faith in him and his growth, so much so they took offense at him.
We can so easily respond the same way to the people in our lives. People we’ve known for years do indeed change and grow – and sometimes we fail to notice the change, we are blind to the growth that has taken place. It’s easy to miss the God-given gifts in one another, their new interests – or even the limitations brought on by illness or aging.
And we can easily become blind to our own challenges of life and aging, to the blessings that God showers upon us. Sometimes we fear failure, we fear change, we’re a bit lazy, we want to live the way we’ve lived for years. It’s true: Change happens; our growth is optional.
In just a few days, these days of Ordinary time will lead us to the great renewal season of Lent. Jesus comes to his "home" within each of us, invites us to share his life, and grow! Now is the time to pause for a few moments each day, to gratefully reflect on God’s presence in our lives, to check on our response to God’s presence – and then to open ourselves to the growth that God offers us. If we open our hearts to Him, Jesus will work wonders in each of us, wonders that he couldn’t seem to do in his hometown of Nazareth. Truly, out of the ordinary…
Bless the Lord, o my soul!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.