Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shipping & Handling

Among the great questions of life in modern America, When will it get here? is right up there with Are we there yet?.
My 11-year-old niece quickly already had a list of things she wanted when she received the Amazon gift card I sent for her birthday.  She immediately ordered earrings, an egg cooker, and a book (the last meeting my own stipulated criterion for the use of the gift).  My sister informed me that the morning after she placed her order, she began to pace, check the windows, and stalk the UPS man, asking often, When will it get here?
This comes to mind because I just checked the web to learn the progress of several packages that I had ordered.  Yes, I am one of those people who orders even the simplest of household goods online.  Shampoo, socks, and vitamin pills all come in brown boxes; kitchen tools and catechetical books alike arrive at the door, often eagerly anticipated. 
Just like any American kid who could sleep until noon any day of the year except Christmas, once I have ordered something, I can’t wait until it gets here.  So the Track your package option is my favorite on numerous websites.  Arrived at facility; departed facility; arrived at facility; out for delivery.  Oh Boy!  Even the US Postal Service finally has brought its system up to speed with updates at every step, which is a big improvement over before, when they only let you know that the package had been mailed, and not much else until it had been delivered.
So, just now as I checked the progress of another package (right after I checked on the progress of the impending winter storm), I wondered to myself: What if we could track everything that we have coming?  How interested would we be?  What if we could track what we have coming from God?
We know that God is a God of mercy, eager to sustain and help us.  So looking for that grace and sustenance to come would be most rewarding.  But we also know that God is a God of justice, and as such will not alter the basic content of our own choices and actions, but will allow their consequences to reverberate into eternity unless we actively seek his remediation.   
So if we could log on and check our account and see what grace, mercy, and peace were coming our way, we might have fortitude and perseverance no matter what difficulties we faced.  On the other hand, if we could see the scheduled deliveries of the results of our every selfish action.  I think that, too, might have a salutary effect on our dispositions as well as our actions.
But if we had access to an accurate answer to the question, When will it get here, we might just be inclined to postpone doing anything to revise our orders, so to speak – to change our actions better to conform to the eventual results and delivery we desire.  Maybe that is why Jesus explicitly declined to reveal the day of delivery.
When it comes to everything that God has in store for us, it is important that we remember, You know not the day, nor the hour.  So the question about which we should be busying ourselves is not When will it get here? but What will we have coming? 

Monsignor Smith

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