Imagine paging through a novel in a bookstore only to find that you have been written in as a key character. Now, wouldn’t that catch your attention?
Yet, that’s exactly what’s happened.
Today’s Mass readings tell us about three men who have a part in The Story: Ahaz, Paul, and Joseph. The main plot line: The Gospel (for a synopsis, see Rom 1:2-6). The Author: God — the greatest Writer in all of space and time. There’s foreshadowing (the prophecy about the coming of Emmanuel), conflict (decisions facing Ahaz and Joseph), heroes, and villains. Did you catch the part where you were mentioned? (Rom 1:6)
Your name may not be specifically referenced in the Bible, but God has called you by name — to be one of His principal characters. He has done this for no other reason than out of His great love. One of the interesting things about this story is that you get to choose how your character is going to play out.
Will you be known as a someone like Paul — “a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God?” Like Joseph — “he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him?” Or like Ahaz — a man who not only wearied people but also wearied God?
Most of the time the characters in God’s story have no idea how big of a role they played. Take Joseph, for example. His obedience had a huge effect on the course of events. At the time, I doubt he fully understood the part he played. The same is true for you and me. In our story, what we often think of as significant really isn’t, and the things we take for granted might have profound effects to follow. We’re not in a position to appreciate the eternal impact we’ll have, but it doesn’t diminish our importance in the outcome.
So at the end of time, when God finishes the last chapter of His Great Epic, what description will be found along with your name?