Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 34-40
The Great Commandment: love God, your neighbor and yourself. Sounds so simple. But look at the world we've created. Look at the Church we've created. We forget the key hidden ingredient: balance. We must balance these loves so that they become one harmonious way of being. How? How on earth are we supposed to do this? The example that's right in front of us: the Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit, balanced as one harmonious God. That is our model. Yes, a tough act to emulate, but remember that it's the effort that matters most.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 15-21
Woe unto you Christians who demand simple answers from God. "Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?" Clear, straight-forward, yes or no, black and white. And what does our Brother say in reply: "Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God." You can almost hear them saying, "So is that a yes?" And you can almost see Jesus shaking his head in disgust. He is telling us that life is infinitely more complex than yes or no; that love is gloriously more multi-faceted than black and white. But haven't I talked of the simplicity of love? YES! And once more we greet our beloved paradox: love is easy, yet impossible to define. We know in our heart what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God, whether we are giving love or withholding it. But how do we get our brain to recognize the truth in our heart and soul? How do we live this truth in the world around us, with so many others refusing to recognize it? Now there are some interesting questions: difficult, complex, certainly not yes or no, nor black and white. In part, the answer is that we must remember that the Kingdom of God is more about effort than accomplishment. Our Father knows if we are really trying to repay what belongs to her. All that remains is for us to acknowledge this in ourselves and one another.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 22: 1-14
Our bishops give us an interesting choice this day. We can stop with the king's hall filled with guests, bad and good alike. Or we can keep going to watch our benevolent king toss out the poor man who has arrived without his wedding garment. After all, "many are invited, but few are chosen." I wonder which option our priests will choose today? Which option would you choose? We all know which option is more pleasing. Surely none of us would be among the fools who actually reject the king's invitation. Of course we will be his guest. But will we remember the wedding garment? A little tougher question. No, we definitely don't want to keep going; stop at the easy line where we've all made it inside; let's not think about getting thrown out into the darkness. But wait, did the poor man get thrown out for not having the garment, or for remaining silent before his king? Does his silence come from fear, embarrassment, or guilt? Surely our benevolent king can tell. So the real question is this: do we have the courage to face our king bare naked, or do we want to stop at the easy part?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Matthew 21: 33-43
We reap what we sow. When we focus on greed, our fruit is death. When we focus on charity, our fruit is love. The evidence of this simple truth is all around us in the world today. It's obviousness is overwhelming; so we have to find ways of hiding from it. We fight over economic and political ideology. We play chess games with real people as pawns. Anything to avoid the reality that we have badly abused the "vineyard" given to us by God, that we are producing sour fruit. Life has a way of humbling the proud, especially those who proclaim that they are too great to fall. God desires good fruit, and one way or another she will get it. Do we want to be his tenants or not?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi

Luke 10: 17-24
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see ... many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it." As he took the hand of Sister Death, I imagine that Francis was greeted by Jesus with these words. He truly saw the the absolute glory of all creation. Francis saw the world, and most especially his brothers and sisters, through the eyes of God. What love and joy he must have seen! And yet he told us that he was nothing special; just one who paid attention when Jesus spoke. As much as we might want to disagree and place him on a pedestal, we must take Francis at his word. For he says that each of us can see through God's eyes if we choose to listen to Jesus. Francis' greatest desire is that we might all come to see one another as true brothers and sisters of our One Father, that Jesus will say to each of us: "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see."