Jesus said to the crowds,
“When you see a cloud rising in the west
you say immediately that it is going to rain–and so it does;
and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south
you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is.
You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky;
why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
In the daily rush of work deadlines and subway delays, I often lose touch with an awareness of God’s presence. I’m so focused on my own plans and worries that I’m not really looking for Him. To use the analogy Jesus tells the crowds in today’s Gospel, if the “signs of the time” are being revealed through rising clouds and blowing winds, I’m not even looking up at the sky. I’ve closed myself off into a cave of my own complacency, safe from the winds but unable to hear the voice of God speaking to me through Creation. My desire for normalcy is greater than my desire for intimacy with God, and so I fall into a routine of keeping the status quo.
So how do I begin to take those first steps out of the cave and into the light? I think the most important step is to move beyond perfunctory prayer and to be truly honest and open with God. I know that I can fall into the habit of treating prayer as a chore to be completed rather than a conversation to engage in. As in any human relationship, if we come to each encounter with an agenda, then we aren’t able to fully see the other person and simply appreciate them for who they are. I’m trying to find more times in my week when I can simply be with God, without any agenda. My requests and petitions can come later; first I need to soak in His presence, and then everything else will flow from that.
And when we are attentive to the signs of God’s presence, we are called to point them out to others, to wake them up out of their own complacencies and reveal to them the beauty that surrounds us all and the greatness to which we are called.
Image: León Benett, Facing the Flag / PD-US