Thursday, 1st Week of Advent
A righteous person is one who conforms oneself to the will of God, however exacting or demanding it might appear. But is it really exacting?
If I were to keep myself awake to prepare myself for exams, it might be tiresome and demanding. But if I were to watch a movie or a world cup match that would take me through the night, I would be enjoying every moment of it. Why is that so?
Personally, God’s will is not that exacting as it seems to be. We might as well take upon ourselves, endeavors that might demand of us even more effort and commitment, and yet it could be contrary to God’s will. The problem lies in what Scott Peck, a renowned psychologist and counselor, would refer to as ‘delayed gratification’ or in other words ‘delayed incentive.’ The glory and the reward that awaits the righteous is much more fulfilling and everlasting than that of the unrighteous which is instantaneous and transient.
Like in the case of watching your favorite movie late in the night. It might be rewarding as long as it lasts. But that’s the end of it. But if the same time were to be invested in preparing oneself for exams, it would pay off not only with a good grade but also with better career-prospects in the future.
And what exactly is this will of God that we’ve been discussing all along? It’s nothing but the greatest of all good that we could possibly realize, i.e. the Beatific Vision! Shouldn’t we then embrace God’s will and live by it every moment of our lives? I must concede that it’s easily said than done. But that exactly is what we Christians are called to do. That calls for fidelity and steadfastness in this beguiling world of allurement and enticement.
In the first reading, the Kingdom of God is likened to a strong city that is formidably fortified and buttressed; the gates of which will be opened only to the righteous who were firm and steadfast in faith. This strong city in the first reading finds its parallel in the house built of rock, mentioned in the gospel. To build a house of rock is laborious, back-breaking and time-consuming; but once completed, it could survive a flood or a storm. To build a house on sand is comparatively easy; but it would fall like a pack of cards at the first signs of a storm or flood. Like the lofty city of the haughty which is leveled to the dust as described by Isaiah, so will the house on sand be razed to the ground for the poor and the lowly to tread upon.
Whether we like it or not, we end up building houses. We got to live this life till we breathe our last. All the while, life proffer us a choice – to heed to God’s Word and to live a Christo-centric life; or to disregard his Word and live a self-centric, if not an eccentric one.
Torrents, floods and storms are sure to come. Advent is not the season for awaiting that Jesus who calmed the raging sea, but the Jesus who strolled the stormy sea. Let’s have recourse to this Jesus that we, together with our household, weather the floods and storms of life.