"I never shrink from any undertaking which I know is good and necessary, no matter what the difficulties. If, for example, I must see some unfriendly important person, I don’t hesitate, but first I recite a Hail Mary. I do the same before calling on anybody. Then, come what may, I do my best and leave the rest to the Lord." – St John Bosco
Scripture text: (IS 7:10-14)
The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.
Do we hesitate to look for signs?
Look closer: Our lives are full of signs of beginnings. When the robin returns, spring is close at hand. A first cry means the baby is born. To build peace after years of struggle, Nelson Mandela extends a hand to his jailers. A candle is lit in the darkness. Witnessing the presence of the sacred, we sign the cross.
God promised that a child will be born whose life shows how “God is with us.” Who would have thought a son of God would be homeless at birth, a refugee for years, tortured and crucified as a criminal, only to return to his friends after the resurrection? Our horizon shifts. There is much more to reality than what we expect.
When we find our place with the poor, with the child, with the single mother, with the gang member, with our enemies, we are the signs that God is with us. Pope Francis warns us not to close our doors to sinners and imbibe our own righteousness. In his recent letter, he writes, “I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” God’s kingdom is not a fortress. When we move outside the walls, we share in the freedom of God.
Many times we are afraid to ask for signs and try to justify our weakness, saying we don’t want to tempt the Lord or we aren’t worthy. But often, we are just frustrating God by acting in our comfort zone and not willing to take the leap of faith and ask for something that would potentially change things either within ourselves or within our lives.
“Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be as deep as the netherworld, or high as the sky!” (Isaiah 7:11)
Be open to signs – they are all around us!