If Jesus Christ called, and invited himself over for dinner
at your house, what would you do?
How would you react?
Let’s see what the checklist would be:
- Clean the house; I mean, really clean the house!
- Go to the store and get the fancy stuff – the very best food.
- Clean up the kids.
- Get out the best clothes, a fresh shave,
run to the hairdresser, maybe?
- Tell everyone –with the laser-gaze of death
that only mothers can give –
that they are to be on their very best behavior!
- Maybe mow the lawn? Trim the hedges?
Put the garden hose away?
What kind of meal would you fix for the Lord?
Remember, he came to earth as a Jewish man,
so that means he kept Kosher. How do you cook Jewish food?
What can you fix for him?
Do you serve drinks? He did make wine; would he like a beer?
In a glass, or would he just drink it out of the can?
What do you talk about? If you and your spouse have been fighting,
maybe you decide beforehand that everyone will be all smiles.
And, if you don’t have time to clean all the rooms,
you just keep the Divine Guest out of the kids bedrooms,
if they are too much of a mess.
Hopefully you don’t have a nervous breakdown
until after the Lord goes home!
On the other hand…
Doesn’t Jesus already know what your house looks like normally?
And doesn’t he already know
what you and your spouse are arguing about?
So if Jesus came to your house, maybe that’s what you talk about:
you stop trying to keep everything perfect,
and instead, you let things be real.
Maybe you just open your heart to him, tell him what’s going on,
and ask for his help.
Ask him the questions you’re dying to know the answers to.
In short, if Jesus came to your house tonight,
would you spend your time trying to see what you could do for him –
or would you see how you can be open to him
doing as much as he can, for you?
And then, having God as your guest in your house isn’t a calamity,
but a joy – and you don’t want him to leave.
By the way, my question isn’t just for the homily.
I encourage you to take this question home with you.
If Jesus were coming to stay at your house – what would you do?
I suggest this for a couple of reasons.
First, this is a really powerful way to pray.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola recommended it.
Namely, take a scene from Scripture –
such as the readings we’re talking about – and use your imagination.
Put yourself in that scene.
Would you be Martha? Mary? Abraham? Sarah?
One of the servants? How would you react? What would you do?
And, second, being able to let Jesus come to your house, as it were,
and instead of being on pins and needles,
you are able to relax and be with someone you trust…
that’s the heart of prayer!
To be able to be with Jesus as a friend; closer than a friend, really:
because we are with our Creator and our Redeemer.
Nothing is hidden, and nothing need stand between us.
(Added at some Masses:
When Paul talks about the mystery that was hidden from ages ago, but revealed in us,
this is what he's talking about: Jesus coming to our house -- but not our physical house,
but the "house" of our hearts, our lives. And that leads to a further mystery,
foreshadowed by the first reading: of Jesus bringing us to his house, to the life of the Trinity!)
Every Thursday we have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament –
that is, Jesus is on the altar for us to gaze at him,
talk to him, and him to us –
from the morning Mass until around 8:45 pm when we have Benediction.
This is our opportunity to sit with Jesus
and to enter into that friendship. Maybe it’s hard, at first.
What do I say? How do I talk to God?
Do I have to use certain words?
No, just visit with him. Gaze at him. Open one of the Gospels,
and read his words. Imagine you are with him. Tell him what hurts.
Bring the names of all the people you care about to him.
God wants to come and visit with you, today.