Pax et Bonum +Peace and All Good
He is Risen! alleluia! The Resurrection of Jesus, which we celebrate this Easter season, is the victory over sin, death and other’s expectations! No one saw the Resurrection coming. Not really.
Jesus plainly told his Apostles that he’d die and rise on the third day but still they didn’t understand. They were all shocked to find the empty tomb. The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes certainly didn’t expect him to actually come back to life. Everyone’s expectation was that he’d die and that’d be it. What do we expect from God?
Some people don’t expect much. Others expect God to work like a genie or wish granter. The truth is God will always exceed our expectations. I’m not saying he will always answer our prayers the way we want or expect but he will answer them.
When I was struggling with the call to the Priesthood as a young adult I demanded God to give me a straight answer. To be a priest or not to be a priest!? I expected him to answer me the way I wanted him to answer me. At that point in my life I didn’t care if it was ‘yes’ or ‘no’ I wanted a straight answer, plain and simple.
I was anxious and stressed, tired of basing choices on my feelings or assumptions. So, one day, frustrated that I had not yet gotten a straight answer from God, I made a deal. It was cold, snowy and dark winter day. The clouds were a deep grey and a frosty haze was in the air.
I visited a nearby chapel while at work. Facing the tabernacle I said, “Lord, enough is enough! If you want me to be a priest you need to show me a sign!” If that weren’t enough I specified the sign I wanted! “On this cold, dark, and nasty day I want you to show me a glimmer of sunshine! Just a beam of sunlight to let me know you want me to be a priest and I’ll sign up for the seminary tomorrow!”
All day, nothing. No sunshine, no glimmer, nothing. The work day ended and I went home. I fell asleep on the couch for a while and when I woke up it was night. Pitch black and no sunshine. I figured, the answer was, ‘no,’ God didn’t want me to be a priest.
I didn’t realize it at first but I was crying. Until that moment, I didn’t know how much I actually wanted to become a priest. I thought the possibility was gone forever because God didn’t show me the sunshine I wanted, he didn’t meet my expectation.
My mom saw I was upset so she sat down with me to cheer me up. I didn’t feel like talking so I just sat there with her. But my mom, never deterred by my silence, started singing a little tune. She always sang to me as a baby and child, especially when I was upset. It was always the same song. “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine you make me happy when skies are grey…”
God exceeds our expectations! The sign I received was what I asked for but not what I expected, it was even better than what I expected! I entered the seminary the following August.
No one expected Jesus to actually rise from the dead. They expected him to stay in the tomb. But Jesus exceeded all their expectations!
What are your expectations for God? This Easter keep your eyes of faith open, God will exceed all your expectations!
Father Charles Ravert serves as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Philadelphia.
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