I did a double-take as soon as I saw the bottle.
Something was definitely different about the icy-cold Coca-Cola served at my new favorite little taqueria.
Turns out, the soft drink—made with real cane sugar—was imported from Mexico. A long way to go for a bottle of Coke, but it certainly adds a nice touch to El Toluco’s already-formidable authenticity.
And I think I came to appreciate the unexpected topper a bit more deeply…as I pondered a couple of oddly juxtaposed gospel stories proclaimed at Mass this week.
On Friday, we hear this description of the Holy One:
Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, ‘Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? …Where did this man get all this?’ And they took offense at him.
It’s delicious—refreshing, even—to consider the notion that our God desires to be familiar to us…to be one of us. But for some reason, that very familiarity can make God’s goodness and all-giving-ness a little hard to swallow. We might even take offense at it—this God-With-Us. Emmanuel.
So it may be that we need a splash of color now and then, to turn our expectations upside down. Something, perhaps, like the story we hear on Sunday:
Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John,
and led them up a high mountain by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.
And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, conversing with him….[and] a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said,
‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased;
listen to him.’
This Carpenter’s Son is full of surprises, isn’t he? The Real Thing – worthy of praise, worlds beyond us, Lord of the Cosmos. And yet, oddly familiar. Right here with us, lifting us up, and forever telling us:
‘Do not be afraid.’
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.