We must have seen this before: You are talking to someone and they are constantly checking their cell phone every other minute. You seem to be expecting a call or a text or a Facebook post or a message from Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp or one of the many other apps of our time. I just can’t help but wonder what exactly they are expecting.
Expectations also play a very important role in the Christian life. They energize and determine the direction and purpose of our life. We must therefore ask ourselves what we expect or expect as disciples of Jesus Christ in today’s world of mass confusion. Expecting the right things, rooted in Jesus’ promises, will determine our ability to do what is right and respond appropriately to it in our world today.
Mt 16: 13-20 shows us four things that we should anticipate as disciples of Jesus today.
First, we must expect the Father to speak and reveal his Son, Jesus Christ, to us always, especially in confusing times like ours. The crowd is all confused about the identity of Jesus and Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say I am?” At the instruction of the Father, Peter answered correctly: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus immediately confirms his answer from the Father: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah. For flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my heavenly Father. “The Father holds no malice with us, his beloved children, and he would not live us hopelessly confused. He speaks to us constantly pointing out his Son Jesus Christ as the only answer to all the confusion and darkness in our lives and in the world.
Second, we must expect that Jesus will act to build up His Church, individually in its members and collectively as a whole. “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my church.” It is not Peter the rock, but Jesus Christ, who gathers and builds up his Church through his sacrifice on the cross and through today’s Eucharist. Jesus Christ is the one who becomes one with his church in order to build up the members and the entire body of the church through Peter and his followers through the centuries.
Third, we must anticipate a violent and incessant conflict with the forces of darkness. There is the “gate of the underworld,” a conglomerate of forces that would struggle to withstand the growth and expansion of the kingdom of God. The church will always have its sworn enemies inside and outside the visible church. Their enemies hate the Church just as they hate Jesus, the Head of the Church, as Jesus testified: “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you” (Jn 15:18).
Finally, we must also anticipate the final victory of Christ and his Church over all powers of darkness. “The gates of the underworld would not prevail against it.” There would be many defeats on the part of the Church, but ultimately the battle, like the resurrection of Jesus Christ after many defeats, will end in the Church’s final triumph. Jesus also assures her this: “You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sad, but your suffering will turn into joy … and no one will take your joy away. “(Jn 16:20, 22)
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we still live today in a world of mass confusion in which we are no longer certain about anything. We are witnessing the spread of a mysterious Covid-19 virus that has killed thousands and paralyzed millions more with fear. We’re not sure how it started or how it will end. We see Catholic churches and statues being destroyed and destroyed in many places and we don’t know why this is happening. The Church is also plagued by numerous sexual and financial scandals, doctrinal errors, and heretical teachings that confuse believers. It is evident that many are no longer even sure what it means to be male and female and what true sexuality is all about. Most of all, we are even confused about the person and teaching of Jesus Christ today.
A good side of all this confusion is that it reveals our true expectations in life. Those who have purely worldly and egocentric expectations in this life, expectations unrelated to their relationship with Christ or rooted in His promises to us, are both confused and weak in these times. They only focus on utopian ideals and self-preservation and are the ones who panic and even get angry and depressed, blaming one or the other person for the crises they are unable to overcome.
This will happen because such people do not listen to the Father’s calming voice. Nor do they see the hidden acts of Christ in these times to build up his church. They desire so much to be loved and accepted by others that they cannot face the fact that the church will have enemies whom it must meet with love and truth. They have no sense of ultimate victory because they simply cannot see how the church can escape total annihilation in this conflict with the forces of darkness. They would likely leave the church at some point, or just stay as a detached spectator.
Then there are those who thrive and grow strong in these times because their expectations were rightly aligned with God’s will for His church. These are those who listen to the voice of the Father and let his word stay in their hearts, just like Mama Mary, who “has pondered God’s words in their hearts” (Lk 2:19). They will also wait patiently and anticipate the salvation act of Jesus in their lives. They will have a Marian attitude of openness that enables Jesus to act in them and through them in the world. They are not overwhelmed by the forces of evil inside and outside the church, but vehemently oppose them to the end. They will not be discouraged by their temporary defeats in this battle, but they will continue to fight knowing that the ultimate victory belongs to Christ and His Church.
So what do we expect in this life as disciples of Jesus? Let us examine our hearts well and choose our expectations very well, because what we expect determines our strength and direction in life. Let us listen to the Father and let us hear how he points out his Son to us in these times. The more we know Jesus Christ, the more we will receive his own will for us and for our world, allowing him to change the deepest expectations and expectations of our hearts.
Once we begin to anticipate the right things based on our relationship with Him, rather than wishful thinking or the numerous utopian ideals of our time, we can hope to do the right things in this world and faithfully follow Christ to the end amid confusion .
Glory to Jesus !!! Honor Maria !!!
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