We Listen For The Voice Of God
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
In recent comments for a Commonweal article Luke Timothy Johnson, a respected scripture scholar, observed that every theologian’s first question has to be, what is God doing in the world? I’d add, that’s the first question every Christian has to ask!
Many Catholics today struggle to maintain confidence in authority’s ability to provide them a useful answer to that question. It seems sometimes that our leaders fear the messiness of the new experiences and situations within which faith must operate and are simply attempting to mandate attitudes and solutions from a previous age. We view this as a dead end. Accepting that life and faith-life are always lived in a fumbling, insecure and restless world we choose to move ahead bringing what ancient treasures we can carry and counting on the Holy Spirit and our sense of the Tradition to help us construct what we need as we proceed. As we journey, we hold tightly to two basic elements of Catholic life.
First, we are a Eucharistic community. This means much more than that we go to Mass. It means that we’re committed to the promise of Jesus. It means that we’re confident that the Holy Spirit works through our lives. It means we believe that God will accomplish through us the just world that he promised. We celebrate the renewal of that promise every time we pray the Eucharist. We unite ourselves to God’s work and one another’s when we share Christ in Communion.
Next, the world that we live in, as unfulfilled and painful as it often is, is the gift God gives for our joy and fulfillment. It is a sacrament; it is God’s realm. God didn’t enter this world because there was no other way to communicate his love for us. He entered it because it’s his gift to us and he loves it as he loves us. Our world is not intended to be a vale of tears but a wondrous home. Our faith is not to flee this world but to immerse ourselves in it and complete it.
If we know where we’re going, if we’re committed to the journey, if we know what to carry, we’ll arrive in God’s time. We have his promise.