Monday, 1st Week of Advent
It goes without saying that the slogan most identified with the season of advent is maranatha: meaning – come Lord Jesus. Nonetheless, has it ever occurred to us that more than the Lord coming to us, it is we who need to go to the Lord?
Two thousand years ago, Jesus indeed, had to come. Hoping against all hope, Israel was apparently waiting indefinitely for their promised Messiah. From them, the cry ‘maranatha’ does make sense. But two millennia after the Messiah had come, crying out maranatha would be silly from our part. If we were referring to his second coming, I’m not sure whether we would succeed to deceive ourselves. Why, ever since he became one of us, Jesus has been with us as the life-giving Word, in us as the Eucharistic species, and amongst us as our ubiquitous brethren in need. Jesus has been waiting for us to open the door of our hearts. Having a doormat with ‘welcome’ printed on it, doesn’t help at the front of a closed door. Before we say “come Lord Jesus,” we need to go to the door and open it for him – who’s been waiting there all along.
Such a going is what the first reading narrates. Isaiah recounts a vision in which all nations were flocking to the Lord’s house towering over the highest of mountains. Thanks to its loftiness, the journey upwards could not be more tedious. Yet nations came out in large numbers and took upon themselves this arduous endeavour, hoping to realize the beatific vision. They were certain that the hardships this journey proffers are nothing compared to the glory that awaits them.
As is the case with the centurion at Capernaum. He didn’t wait for Jesus to come to his house. He, instead, went to Capernaum to meet Jesus. Citing his unworthiness, he even went to the extent of dissuading Jesus from coming home! He spared Jesus the trouble of coming home, fully convinced that his word would suffice to bring about his servant’s healing. Jesus from his part commends such unflinching faith!
Personally, I don’t see a precedence to such faith in human history. Abraham, our father in faith, yielding to Sarah’s uncertainty, begot Ismael of his slave Hagar. Mary, before her fiat voiced her skepticism regarding the virgin birth.
Yes, regarding his faith, the centurion has no precursor in human history. But I see no reason why there should not be a successor to follow his example. Let’s ask the Lord to grant us the grace to live the centurion’s words than just pronounce it before communion. Let’s ask the Lord to go out to him than wait for him to come.