Walking into the Sound of God’s Salvation

Week of December 20, 2015

What does God’s salvation sound like?   What are we walking into as we enter the last week of Advent?  The Gospel gives a glimpse of the direction we are to go.  Mary set out in haste to visit Elizabeth.  She went to share the favor of God that was bestowed upon her with another person who would understand, for she too was a recipient of God’s favor.  She went to celebrate the goodness of God.  And when they met, the joy stirred so deeply, even the baby leapt in her womb.  The sound of God’s salvation is the sound of God’s promise being fulfilled.  The sound of salvation comes when the trust of God finds fulfillment and there is nothing that can shake our faith.

I can remember a time when I was in the right place at the right time.  God had put me in a place to be present to a woman who was hurting.  I was just a seminarian, but there was no priest there at the time.  She just needed to talk about the infidelity of her husband and how she was the laughing stock of the town because everyone knew what was taking place.  In my best wisdom I listened and prayed.  At the end of the conversation I reminded her that she had a great family back home and maybe it was time to just go back for a while to sort things out.  I never saw her again and I never knew what had happened with her situation.  But on the day of my first Mass years later, in the stack of cards was a note from this person who said she had retreated home and it was the best decision of her life.  She wrote that she was praying for me and knew I would be a good priest.  I haven’t seen or heard from her since, but at that moment I was in the right place at the right time.  Salvation wasn’t from me or through me. I was just a vessel trying to listen and hold the brokenness of a person.

The sound of God’s salvation is in the whisper of the right words to use that encourages a child or holds them when they are broken.  The sound of salvation is in the healing that comes from true forgiveness.  The sound of God’s salvation is the peace that this world cannot give, yet resides within us as God’s gift.

The promise is fulfilled.  The joy is unparalleled and the Savior longs for us to hear.  Many longed to see what we see and hear what we hear when we gather for the Eucharist.  May these last days find us anticipating what we already know and believe.  Our salvation is at hand!

Rev. John J. Ouper