During an episode of the “That Man Is You” series viewed today, my memory was returned to the week of the fire story where the course of those events turned my whole life’s focus and attention to living in God’s presence and being a part of His Salvation story. Part of today’s presentation proposed how anonymously Jesus lived His life in Nazareth, prior to the start of His ministry, with and through the Holy Family in that community. Jesus, those years, lived the normal family life; not standing out within the community like one would expect the Son of God would do.
The next thought is the one that brought me 22 years to the prior. The second part if this Biblical happening came in the story when Jesus returned to Nazareth early in His public ministry and encountered His hometown people in the synagogue. The townspeople were first astonished because of the way He taught them. Then another thought, this was not the man that they all knew and watched grow up right there in front of them for those last 30 years.
After contemplating this interaction between Jesus and his neighbors, the reason, I feel, why these Nazarenes were so upset was, this guy lived with them for all those years and didn’t perform the simplest of miracles. They probably felt slighted because Jesus left town and went about to other cities and performed all those great wonders.
So, as Bible stories do, the story now poses a question back to its reader or hearer. Bible stories are written to change one’s life. Written to bring the reader/hearer closer to our Lord and Salvation. So, the question posed to me, “Do I yearn, long, thirst for the love and presence of Jesus in my life, or do I keep Jesus around so He can answer my prayers when I need Him?” Petition prayers are an important part of my relationship with God, but being in His presence needs to be first and foremost. Petitions should then proceed out from that presence of being.
The Nazarenes had Jesus right there to themselves for 30 years! How great just to have the presence of God in their midst! They; however, saw the miracles as the things they really wanted from Jesus. Just having God in their presence was not enough.
What peace is there to just sit in God’s presence? What wonders open up when immersed and experiencing the mind of Jesus? Is that not enough for me? Do I appreciate, be thankful for, crave that “being” with Jesus? Do I say to myself, “let’s skip that `being with my Lord’ and get right to the prayer petitions? `This is what I want and need from you oh Great Lord’”. Shouldn’t sitting and basking in the Lord’s love and greatness be all that I would want? Shouldn’t that alone fill my day with all that I could ever want or ever need in this life? Or, am I going to be like the Nazarenes that become disillusioned when prayers of petition do not get answered when and how I wanted them to?
God, let me only live to sit and bask in Your infinite joy and peace. That, in Your presence, You satisfy every aspect of my life. These were the outcomes of my fire experience those weeks after the fire. My possessions, the result of my personal petitions and wants, were removed, leaving only God’s loving presence. Life became so simple and peaceful over those few weeks after the fire.
Let us pray. Lord, may we firm our prayer and life to conform to and bask in Your infinite wonder, glory, love and peace. May this fire, built in our hearts, fuel the way we see the world and recognize Your will being done through us to further Your Salvation of the world. That through being in Your presence, Your will is done and our souls magnify the greatness of Your Spirit to the world. Amen.