Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Thief

It seems Jesus is always showing up when we least expect, at the most unexpected times, sometimes when we’re asleep, certainly when we’re not anticipating him. Ultimately he admits to us this morning that he is like a thief, a real sneak. “Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.’” He wants to break in. But that being said, the Gospel seems to imply that, almost playfully, he wants to be caught in the act.

We are called constantly to welcome the mystery of God in the midst of ordinariness. and our waiting is about powerlessness and poverty, for in Jesus the mystery of God is constantly revealed even as it is hidden. If indeed we seek intimacy with this Mystery, vigilance will always be essential because of the divine reversal that always obtains. God is always reversing things, turning things upside-down, doing it his way, sneaking in through the side door. 

In the crucified and risen Christ, we experience God’s modest but insistent plea for our love.* But there is always the real danger that we’ll miss him, get preoccupied. Waiting is so hard, so passive. But the thief is coming, sneaking in, rest assured. He rewards attentiveness; he is attuned to our deepest yearnings. And if we are meant, called to live in incessant desire for him, it is of course because he is always at the threshold of our yearning, yearning for us more than we can imagine. Our responsibility is incessant availability to his presence.

He is attentive to the desiring that underpins each action of our day. His coming toward us does not depend on our explicit words of prayer, but on our implicit, incessant desiring for him which he notices in the deepest recesses of our hearts. The Lord has taken us at our word; he remembers what we’ve told him we want. He is sneaking in through a low door even now. 

Bust of Jesus, Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488) Florentine, after 1483. Gessoed, painted, and gilded terra cotta. *Oliviér Clement