Surprise God! Surprise Yourself! Surprise Each Other! | Word from the Shepherd No. 178

Pentecost 2022 | Year C
Act.25:13-21; Jn.21:15-19

Spiritual writers say that people of the Spirit or those touched by the Spirit are noted for their innocence, laughter and surprises. They surprise people and friends. But they surprise God when they become more than they were created to be.

The scriptures are loaded with personages who surprised others. The bible features Paul and Jesus who continued to surprise the Jews. No chains, no prisons, no courts, no kings, no Jerusalem, no Rome could silence them nor chain up the good news of Jesus and the Resurrection.

In John’s Gospel, on the shores of Tiberius, Peter is singled out, commissioned despite his latent weaknesses, and is entrusted to ‘feed the lambs and sheep’. Jesus appears to say to Peter: SURPRISE ME!

There is a mission that awaits all of us. Our mission is the mission of Jesus Christ (Lk.4:18), to bring the good news to the poor, to make the blind see, the deaf hear and set prisoners free. It is a mission that is moved by a ‘fire within’;

  • a fire that has be fanned into a flame;
  • a transforming fire that stirs us up to do greater things than what Jesus did (remembering what Jesus remarked).

Our mission is to surprise the world and the people around us, with quality work standards and charity that walks the extra mile.

God does not desire repeats or recycles or approves mediocrity. He expects ‘surprises’, that we go beyond ourselves; that we live authentic witnessing friendships; that we be insightful mentors and companions to journeying disciples; that we create god-spaces wherever we go or work.

To unwrap these surprises, we must exercise three “givens”- 3 graces that we are called to acknowledge, to own and to yield to them:

  1. That we have the Holy Spirit (not a spirit of fear but of power, love and self-control), who is the driving force of all goodness, beauty and mercy
  2. That we are surrounded with Opportunities: like Paul and Jesus, we behold every situation and every thing as God-given moments; see no obstacles, no bad times, no chains, no prison, no courts, no kings, no hindrances to the proclamation of the Good news.
  3. That we have a Sender who inspires and provides us with everything that He was for His Son, Jesus.

A spiritual writer commented that what we have is God’s gift to us and what we become is our gift to God. Our “becoming”, our excelling, our rising above mediocrity surprises people, but more so, they make God rejoice. Let hear the Lord, the master craftsman, say: You surprise Me.

Surprise God! Surprise Yourself! Surprise Each Other!