October 21, 2020 – Wednesday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102120.cfm)
What’s the difference between pranking and surprising someone? If we would scan our Facebook wall, prank videos are all over. These prank videos, though they may cause laughter and entertainment to the viewers, but these are malicious and mischievous acts played on someone. Some pranks are simple but others are way beyond simple tricks, but too much. These cause embarrassment and humiliation, shock and dismay or anger and irritation to people being tricked. A prank has no intention at all to bring joy to the person.
A surprise, on the other hand, is to strike with wonder or amazement especially because it is unexpected (Merriam-Webster definition). A surprise brings joy not just to people around but also to the person being surprised. That’s why we like a good surprise for our loved ones particularly during special occasions. Surprises do not only flatter the heart of the person being loved, but, surprises also create true creativity and bonding among friends, families and lovers.
This is something that we discover in today’s scripture readings. The Gospel of Luke, as it proclaims an image of God’s final judgment on us and delivering punishment for those who are wicked and rewarding the righteous, however, it is not just limited to this. This particular passage of Luke also conveys to us how the Lord loves to surprise us. Definitely, the Gospel invites us to be attentive to God’s surprises.
God comes to us and reveals Himself to us in the way we would not expect it to be. That’s why it is a surprise. It is unexpected but with the intention to bring joy. St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, gave us the hint on how he experienced such a surprise from Jesus. The Lord revealed himself to Paul on the road to Damascus when he was in search of Christians to be persecuted. That surprise from Jesus changed the whole life of Paul. It was in that surprise that Paul truly encountered the Lord and was converted to Jesus. Paul called this, revelation, a grace given to him. This grace that filled Paul is now being shared to others.
This is the invitation for us today. We are called to be attentive and to make ourselves available to the many surprises of God. We need the eyes of faith to believe in the God of surprises. God will never prank and make us embarrassed. God would only surprise us to bring joy and peace.
Thus, God may call us to serve and love Him in the way we have never thought about or to do something which was unthinkable before. God may reveal His presence to us in the most ordinary ways and to ordinary persons who are already familiar to us. God may answer our prayer through the help and generosity of an unexpected friend or even through a stranger. God may bring us joy through a simple gift from a person we love or through reconciliation and peace offered to us by the person we have hurt or those who have hurt us. God may surprise us through the embrace and acceptance of people around us. And like Paul, the Lord may also surprise us in the way that it will challenge and change our beliefs, attitudes and the way we look at things.
There are many possibilities of God surprising us. Let us allow, then, the Lord to surprise us today and every day. Grab and welcome those surprises from God by exercising a greater awareness of what surrounds us. Having those experiences will make us more confident in our relationship with God. Do not just be passive or complacent or indifferent. Be always mindful of God’s daily dose of surprises.
I invite you now to spend a time of recollection or of silence each day even in a short moment of 5 to 10 minutes before you end your day. Spend these few minutes to recollect on how God gave us the grace of surprise during the day. Thank the Lord for the grace and never forget to share your grace of surprise to people around you so that we too shall become God’s surprise for others. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR