My sister and I would relish those times when our parents would leave us alone on a Saturday night while they went to a gathering or party only for adults. We were old enough and “mature” enough to be left alone. What we did in their absence depended on whether or not we respected their trust in us. Usually we made some pizza, watched TV, played games and simply relished in our brief experience of independence. What young people do when their parents aren’t present or looking speaks volumes.
Jesus tells a parable about a nobleman who leaves on a journey and entrusts his ten servants with money to use to trade in creative ways, so that upon his return, these servants would prove their worth by how they used the money. The money was “given” to them by the nobleman in trust and confidence.
Like my parents, Jesus physically left his disciples and US after his ascension, entrusting us with the gifts necessary to build his kingdom. Once filled with the Spirit, these early disciples relished their independence because they were empowered to be creative with gifts given freely. When you use your time and energy to creatively make beauty and goodness a reality that makes the world a better place, you will be able to give back to God a world.. his world... made better.
I won’t tell you some of the things I did when my parents left on a given Saturday evening that were far from uplifting. Most of the things they never found out about!!!! Thank God, I would giddily think. My sister was no different. One of the funniest and most creative thing we did was make pizzas from scratch, which were delicious. We even cleaned the kitchen!!
Jesus isn’t physically present to us but he certainly can see what we are doing. But we forget this important reality, which leads us to act in ways that are anything but uplifting and inspiring. We forget that EVERYTHING we have comes from God: our very lives, each breath we take, our families, spouses and children, friends, material possessions, careers, vocations, good health, our freedoms. We have so much and have much for which to be grateful.
But how are we building Christ’s Kingdom in his absence? Advent begins on November 29, a new church year begins. This season is a time of reckoning and awakening to just what we are doing to make the world a reflection of the beatitudes and the command to love our neighbor.