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Father Muench Says...

Looking for the surprises God gives us

Oct. 17, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to share a bit with you about Jesus’ call for us to be childlike. Jesus makes it clear that the way to the Kingdom of God is being childlike. “Amen, I say to you whoever does not accept the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

Each year as I come to this Gospel reading, I think long and pray over my homily: what does Jesus mean when he says be childlike. I have come up with various ideas over the years. For example, dependence on God like a little child is dependent on a parent, or other such ideas. This year, the idea I came up with was “surprise.” Curiously, this idea came to mind at the last minute. I thought of “surprise” as I was going over the Church for Mass. In fact, I changed my whole prepared homily. I was surprised that I thought of “surprise.”

I know that every day is filled with “surprises” for young children. Each day brings so much newness to these children. Children learn quickly how recognize the “surprises” that invade each new day.

Our God is a God of “Surprises.” In faith, I believe that God brings to all of us many wonderful “surprises” each day. Jesus gives each one of us opportunities and challenges to do something special for God and for others. These are usually “surprises” for us.

I have noticed that while children are often surprised by life’s events, many of the rest of us seem to miss God’s “surprises.” We are trying to be a bit too mature, and sometimes we are a bit bored with life.

I am certain that, like you, I enjoy totally watching a child in a store – especially a toy store – being surprised by this or that toy. Then as they move on, they continually are surprised by the next one – one surprise after another.

In faith, I believe that God fills our lives, fills each and every one of us, with a call, a challenge to make a difference. As a rule, these calls of our God come to us as surprises.

The biggest surprise for most of us is that God needs us. God trusts us and brings into our lives many opportunities to bring God’s love and peace and forgiveness to those who are in need. I hope that you have recognized this experience. I hope you have experienced such surprises from God – challenges that call you to do something or say something important to someone who truly needs us.

I hope you have had many days when you looked back on a day and been surprised because you did something or said something that was the right thing at the right time. The Lord trusts each and every one of us, so he stays with us, he walks with us. He constantly surprises us to do something important – something spectacular.

One of the reasons that we gather each week for prayer and Eucharist is to seek God’s love and wisdom so that each day we will be open to the Lord’s challenges, the Lord’s surprises.

We must come to realize how blessed we are by the Lord that we have the ability – with the Lord’s help – to do almost miraculous things every day of our lives. The surprise is that the Holy Spirit gives us such power. Don’t miss those surprises.

One more thing with the Lord: we will have the power to meet the difficult things of life, the painful things of life, those unpleasant surprises.

Keep faith in our loving Lord.

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