Saturday, 3 November 2012

What can I offer you?

There's a lovely hymn that goes:
What can I offer you Lord Our God,
How can I thank you for all that you've done?

With my parents now passed on, I often think of where they are. I also often think christians are increasingly finding it hard to practise what they believe in varying degrees. Both things have caused me a lot of angst in recent months. When my dad first passed away it felt as if there wasn't a clear purpose in this life. Why couldn't I just be with him? Why this life here? Why not just the next one?
But both suffering and heavenly reward were very prominent throughout the readings for the day on All Saints' Day Holy Mass. When I read them I was really bowled over by the imagery of what it means to be saved and to be at the Heavenly Banquet. On the other hand you have persecution mentioned in the First Reading and then again in the Communion Antiphon. The Gospel itself, the Beatitudes, balances efforts with promised rewards.
We know where we're going but there's a climb first

Do you want to live forever? Well, what about living forever and also in such bliss as you cannot possibly be dissatisfied? Forever. No more tears, only unending joy. I see my parents again. We'll never again be separated. What would I not give?

Well, once you think about it, you come to the conclusion that there must be something you can do in return. How embarrassing to turn up at celebration and you haven't brought a gift for the banquet. Or more accurately, someone actually gave you the present but you ate it on the way. You spend the party thinking 'I can't believe this is the best party I've ever been to and I've not brought a single thing to show appreciation for my invite.' And everyone else has.

All around us we have opportunities to offer something to God. The more bleakly the struggle of life is portrayed, the greater the persecution we sense, the more work there appears to be done, the more opportunities there are. What can I offer you Lord Our God?
God has given to me, and everyone else, the gift of a life beautifully wrapped and, inevitably, in the shape of a cross.

I picture myself at the threshold of the door, knocking and expecting a warm welcome from my Perfect Host. In my hands is an empty box, the wrapping dishevelled, my face greedily covered in chocolate.
Dear God, I hope this won't be me.
You're on your way to the party, what are you doing with that precious gift in your hands?

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