June 18, 2019

Our Expectations Of God

A question that has always puzzled me is:

Why was there such a dramatic change in the mood of the crowd of people in Jerusalem from Palm Sunday to Good Friday? Why the change from Hosanna to Son of David to Crucify Him?

One answer, I think, has to do with expectations. When we are all excited and on an emotional high because our hopes and expectations are about to be fulfilled and they are suddenly dashed to the ground we are not only terribly saddened but we many times get angry.

The people of Jerusalem hoped that Jesus was going to be their long-expected Messiah. God’s Anointed One would be like King David and would lead them to throw off their hated Roman rulers and give them the freedom of their own autonomy. When it appeared that Jesus was going to be a different kind of Messiah, one who appeared to be gentle and forgiving and therefore perceived as weak, their frustrated hopes turned into anger, particularly anger at Him. That appears to be what upset Judas, the one who was so concerned with money and power, and caused him to betray Jesus to the Jewish and Roman authorities.

So the question arises:

What do we expect God to do for us? Just what kind of a Messiah do we expect? And when God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to, how do we react? What is our own response?

I think you know the answer. You and I have seen it in others; perhaps we have even seen it in ourselves. We get mad at God. We turn and walk away both from Him and from His Church. The uncomfortable truth is that Judas models our own turning away from Christ. Let’s face it. We all have some fickleness in our hearts. Not only that, but all too often we join the thinking of the crowd around us, are swept up by what is popular and fail to be fixed on what is right.

Let me challenge you. Instead of asking what we want God to do for us, why don’t you and I turn the question around today and ask ourselves:

What does God want me to do?

We now enter into Holy Week and once again God our Father gathers us up into His Christ. God knows full well what is in the human heart but He is undeterred by our failures and weaknesses. Next Sunday we will come out on the other side of Holy Week and filled with thanksgiving we will once again, with Christ, enter into His resurrection from the dead and sharing His victory over that which separates us from God, even death itself.

God’s love for us is infinitely strong, unwavering, resolute, and more powerful than all that the demonic forces of Hell can throw at us. In the light of human history, a history filled with infidelities, betrayals, violence, and unspeakable evils, this is our only hope for peace in our souls and the triumph of love. Let us now join ourselves into Christ and there be swept up onto the heart of God.

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Written by
Fr Charles Irvin

REVEREND CHARLES IRVIN, or "Father Charlie," as he is known, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on January 6, 1933. He was raised and educated there, graduating from the University of Michigan's Law School. After a brief career as an attorney he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in 1967. Shortly thereafter he began an eleven-year ministry at St. Mary's Student Chapel in Ann Arbor. A rich variety of ministries followed including appointments to many advisory positions in the Church and three other pastorates. In the early 1970s he began writing columns for several Catholic newspapers in Michigan. In 1999 he was appointed founding editor of Faith magazine, published by the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. Today, the magazine serves seven dioceses.

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Written by Fr Charles Irvin