Looking at the sun for direction … Sunday, December 30

English: Good shepherd

English: Good shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As we celebrate the Holy Family … Luke 2:41-52, today’s Gospel reading, tells us the story of Jesus being “lost” in the Temple and Mary and Joseph finding Him. The Fifth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. People all over the world still think He’s lost, still go looking for Him, still wonder where He got off to, putting a lot of thought into their search, and He’s right where He’s always been (and He’s always been here because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever). In His Father’s Temple, the Tabernacle found in every Catholic Church in the world, doing what He’s done for all eternity, doing His Father’s business, doing His Father’s will. He knows right where He is. It isn’t Christ that’s lost. But He goes searching too, searching for those lost sheep out there seeking their Shepherd. Good thing, because sheep aren’t known for their observational abilities. We never could find Him if He didn’t call to us. And, happily, His sheep know His voice. John 10:27. That’s because they’re seeking. When you’re lost and looking you tend to listen for directions, even when you can’t admit to yourself that you’re lost. There’s that lack of observational ability again. But because sincere sheep tend to listen they’re more likely to hear.

There’s a big difference between thinking and watching.

Years ago I was driving and thinking. A dangerous thing for me to do. Thinking instead of paying attention I looked up at one point and saw a water tower down the road. I thought to myself, boy they sure put that up quick. It wasn’t there just the other day. As I got closer I saw that the lower half of the tower was covered with vines. Construction might go quick but those vines took years to grow to that extent. Oh, ratz. I was lost. While I was thinking instead of paying attention I’d missed my turn. How far back? How would I know? I was, after all, lost. I hadn’t been watching. Now, I spent a good deal of my youth in the woods. Woods I can navigate in, roads confuse me. Nature is natural, highways often go straight. There are no straight lines in nature. Blindfold me when I was 16, drop me in the middle of a forest, and I’d walk out. Put me in the middle of a small town I’ve been to a dozen times before, a town with just two streets, and I’ll get lost. Probably for the 12th time. But this time, lost on the highway, I tried something different. I thought, lets treat this like the woods. So the first thing I did was look at the sun. I needed to go south first, then back west. So I turned down the first road going south. If it winds in another direction I can compensate later, like following a stream that wanders. I drove south about as far as I felt I needed to, my woodland intuition being fairly sound, and took a road west. And I ended up at the exact intersection I’d have arrived at had I been watching and not thinking.

Have you ever noticed how many times Jesus told people to watch? He told folks this a lot. Matthew 24:42, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:35, and etc. What did He say about thinking? John 5:39 mentions people who study scripture, think about it a lot, but don’t really understand it because … Matthew 16:3 mentions people who are adept at studying the sky and what it means weather-wise. They’ve thought about this a lot, but … Now there’s nothing wrong with thinking. God gave us brains to use. But there’s a time and place for everything. And there’s a big difference between watching for our Shepherd so as not to miss Him and thinking about Him. Both are good, for a sincere sheep, but again, there’s a time and place for everything. An example here would be the various 12 step recovery programs. Most have what they call “slogans”. Little bits of wisdom to help folks on their way, one day at a time. Most of these, I think, are constant from organization to organization. And they all get plastered to the walls of meeting halls as reminders. One such slogan is “Think, think, think”. Most newcomers get told, regardless the group, “That doesn’t pertain to you.” And that’s because they’re new and still in a fog. As far as the spiritual life goes we come to it in a fog of fallen nature. For my own part I’d just as soon play it safe and remain a newcomer while walking with Christ, always ready to learn, always aware of my weakness. Like this post. It ain’t perfect, please cut me slack. lol 😉 If Mary and Joseph had been watching Jesus instead of thinking about the trip home, well, we’d have a different Gospel reading today.  Driving down the highway, like I was, its time to look at what’s going on around you so you don’t miss you’re turn. Living life we need to look at what’s important too, because one of these days we’re going to be faced with an off-ramp, death, and we need to get it right because there’s no place after that to turn around. Wood-lore won’t help at that point. And, yes, we need to think about that. But not while we’re driving. We need to be watching for our turn. It’s a balancing act, watching and thinking and knowing when to do which, like when I was driving down that road, but for now we’ll concentrate on being observant and watching.

Why do people study, scripture or the sky or anything else, and miss their turn? Maybe they have eyes to see but are blind. Mark 4:12. Why are they blind? Preconceived ideas, pride, willful ignorance, the list goes on. How to avoid this? Simple. When you think He’s lost please know it’s not Him but you. Then, let Him find you. Remember when I realized I was lost on that road? Go back and read it again if you need to. Just concentrate on what I looked at first, do the same, and with Mary and Joseph you’ll see Jesus. It’s the one sure way to stay found, to keep Him in sight.

Psalm 50:1 … A psalm for Asaph. The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken: and he hath called the earth. From the rising of the sun, to the going down thereof …

 

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Published in: on December 30, 2012 at 6:15 am  Comments Off on Looking at the sun for direction … Sunday, December 30  
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