Maranatha! I am not sure you know what this word means!
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
1 You have been raised to life with Christ, so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits on his throne at the right side of God. 2 Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Your real life is Christ and when he appears, then you too will appear with him and share his glory! Colossians 3:1-4 (TEV)
22 Whoever does not love the Lord—a curse on him! Marana tha—Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
1 Corinthians 16:22-23 (TEV)
Yet when the Church departed from her Semitic motherland she took with her some words that have since become familiar to all Christians: amen, alleluia, hosanna—and, above all, marana-tha! (1)
59 If you respond to the call the Lord has made to you, your life—your poor life!—will leave a deep and wide furrow in the history of the human race, a clear and fertile furrow, eternal and godly. (2)
I love reading Pope Benedict on the topic of worship, especially about liturgical renewal. Despite being one of the greatest theological minds of the last 200 years, his focus is that liturgy must be understood, and it must reveal Jesus. This morning, the devotional I have that is made up of his writings focused on this,and it is very good.
What struck me the most was the blue quote above, and the word that we need to keep from our “Semitic motherland”. Not amen, that is, “this is true.” Not Alleluia, that is, “Praise you YHWH/LORD.” Not even the cry hosannah, which means “save us, LORD”!
The word that he would have us keep more than all, is the prayer, Maranatha! Come Lord!
I thought I knew the word, but I looked it up, just in case. It is a bold prayer, but more than a bit terrifying in context. For the prayer is for God to come with all of His justice, to come with His judgment. To answer a call to purge that which is evil, that which is wicked, that which is sinful and rebellious. It is the cry of the psalms, Lord, rescue the righteous, to pour out your wrath on those who deserve it.
To get rid of the murders, the cheats, the liars, those who are envious, the sexually impure the gossips… those who sin actively and passively, in what they do, but also what they say and think.
Are you ready for that? Are you confident that your soul is clean enough to have God come back right now? Everyone wants to end up in heaven, but are we ready to be judged for what we have done, or didn’t do? Do you feel a sudden need for confession, to hear the words you are forgiven?
I know I do…
I need to know that grace! I know I need to realize that I have found my hope, in that in Christ’s mercy, my sins have been purged from me, that I am counted as righteous because He cleansed me, uniting me to His death and Resurrection in Baptism (Romans 6, Colossians 2, 1 Peter 3) I need to be comforted, and know the love of God for me, a sinner. 9
It is in this Easter season that we are reminded that we are hidden in Christ, in heaven already. For we dwell in the presence of God Himself. We need to realize this, contrary to the old saying, we need to be so Heavenly minded, so that we can be worth something here on earth!
That is what Josemaria Escriva is talking about as well, responding to the call that Jesus has put on our life. Not the call to be a pastor or priest, or a lay leader, but the call of all, to be the children of God, to live in His presence. As we think of heaven, as we realize we are dwelling already in His presence, that changes us, and we leave a mark on this earth that makes a difference, because we love as He loves us.
This isn’t just thoughts of piety, but immense practicality. We need to cry out Maranatha, but we need to do so in faith, knowing out relationship with Jesus, knowing that repentance which He grants us, which gives us life. And that repentance, that cry of faith, changes us, and through us, changes the world.
So cry it out, in awe, in fear, counting on Jesus to do what He has done.
And live life, knowing He is with you.
Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 130). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 436-438). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.