We're inching closer to Advent, a season that always reminds me to be open to any surprises the Lord might bring to me. And while I wish I could say I easily open my arms and hands to Him, it's actually something I struggle with a lot.
I want to follow the Lord and His will for my life . . . but sometimes it scares me to do that. Because I know that following Him will likely entail more suffering—more giving of myself—and it's here where my self-protective mechanism wants to jump in, to keep me right where I am, where I'm comfortable and invulnerable.
But in this comfort zone, my heart closes itself to the Lord and His surprises for me. I imagine it communicates to Him, "No, thank you, I'm good" even though He's standing right here before me, offering things I can't have without Him: peace, freedom, eternal life.
When Jesus approaches Jerusalem in today's Gospel reading, Luke 19:41-44, He weeps because the people there have a similar response to Him, "No, thank you, I'm good."
They have no idea what they're saying "no" to—just as I truly don't when I don't welcome Him into my heart or life as well. The people there were comfortable with the way things were and they didn't want to go out of their way to live differently.
Pope Francis preached on this Gospel reading years ago, and I was moved by what he said:
"The city was afraid to be visited by the Lord; afraid of the gratuity of the Lord’s visit. . . But the visit of the Lord, its surprises, those we cannot handle. . . . Jerusalem was afraid of this: of being saved by the surprises of the Lord" (source).
Sometimes that's me too: being afraid to be saved by the surprises of the Lord—surprises that I imagine will ask more of me.
We may not be able to handle the surprises the Lord has in store for us—not alone, anyhow. But with Him, we can.