Reflection for Saturday, November 29, 2008: 34th week in Ordinary Time.

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Tinley, Susan
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Today in Revelations, we are given a picturesque description of the gifts of God. In the Psalm, this theme is continued along with an invitation to adoration of our great God. The dire warning of the gospel then seems out of synch with the beauty of the first two. Yet are the two themes really so disparate? Perhaps not.||How many of us can feel comfortable in receiving a gift without wanting to give back, or feeling indebted? Can we be thankful and allow the giver to relish the opportunity to enjoy the delight of giving without feeling like there are strings attached by either party? For some, it is almost like there is an accounting system; for every gift received there has to be a gift returned.|Do we see God's gifts in the same way? Are we always looking for a way to give back, keeping an accounting of a tit for tat? One problem with that approach is that we can never repay God for all of his gifts, there is just no way that He can be outdone or matched in the splendor of his gifts. Another problem is that God gives us gifts to be enjoyed and we are missing out on that enjoyment if we are wrapped up in trying to see how we can repay him.|In Luke's gospel, Jesus warns us not to let our anxieties or fruitless pleasure-seeking get in the way. He tells us to be vigilant, not in a fearful and anxious way but in a joyful anticipation of the day when we will "stand before the Son of Man"|Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, it is a time when we anticipate the coming of the Lord and the gifts that are associated with that coming. Advent can also be a time of too many Christmas parties, or of anxieties and depression that get in the way of the true joy and celebration of the season. The readings for today can be pulled together as a reminder to enjoy the gifts that God has given us in the form of family and friends, but to save some time to enjoy the best gift of all, his loving presence with us no matter what.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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