Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Sunday of Lent

Oh how we love to focus on our own destruction. We despair over our misfortunes, and blame them on a combination of God's wrath and our own sinfulness. We assume we are desperately sinful creatures, critically in need of salvation to prevent a just punishment from befalling us. What crap! Once again, our arrogance gets the better of us. Whatever calamities we experience are part of a grander process of life in the universe. We are just a bit player in that drama, not the central focus. Yes, we are an important figure on the canvas, but it is not all about us.

“This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
I say that these words stand true today. Every moment is the fulfillment of a plan set into motion at the beginning of time. Our Parent delights in creating grand and beautiful expressions of the love that animates them. Our lives are just one small, but glorious, part in this tapestry. This "kingdom" is not utopia in the way we fantasize; it is life itself. There is a wonder to this existence, every last moment of it, that will overwhelm you, if you allow yourself to see. For too long we have let ourselves be blinded by sin and devotion. We are like a child who craves attention, and so goes to extremes of flagellation or hedonism to get it. It is time to grow up, find our place within the family of life, and let ourselves be content with that position. This is the only salvation that we need and the only salvation worth craving. We are beings of love, created by Love itself, to celebrate a universe of love. That is "good news" worth believing in. So hear me now: This is the time of something wonderful. The glory of God surrounds us. Be at peace, and believe in the truth of love.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

You cannot hide from God. They know your desires and motives better than you do. The only choices we have are to bury our heads in the sand and pretend otherwise, or drop all the masks and pretense and stand naked before our Creator. At the end of the day, it really is not about us. My life does not belong to me; it's just on loan from the real owner. What I do in life matters not a bit if I fail to follow God's will. May this Lenten season be a time for that will to glow brighter than ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our Creator is the Good Parent, always willing to forgive our sins. He understands our imperfection and does not hold it against us. She lets go of our history of failure and allows us to make a fresh start. This is the truth that Jesus attempted to share, but not all were willing to hear it. We are like the spoiled child who gets angry that his parents do not punish his siblings severely enough for their transgressions, but does not mind so much when it is his turn to be disciplined. We need to be reminded that forgiveness is a blessing we should rejoice over, whomever is on the receiving end. Naturally, however, the authority figures balked at Jesus' words, so he did a little magic trick to shut them down. It certainly worked, but did it also blind them to his message? What were they so "astounded" at seeing: the truth of forgiveness or the physical healing? Which of these two is grander and more profound? Which do you desire for yourself?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

What is our lesson for today? Many will focus once again on the power of Jesus to heal, just like the people of his time. But did he heal all the lepers? Did he only have pity for this one? Perhaps he was sending us a broader message on cleanliness of the body and the soul. What draconian rules are on our books, or in our minds, that render our brothers and sisters unclean? Do we have the power to restore them? If so, do we fully use that power? Francis of Assisi and Damien of Molokai did not heal the bodies of the lepers they served, but they certainly healed their souls through the power of love. Who are the lepers in your life that cry out for healing? Will you love them?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Is the Gospel a commodity to be sold or a gift to be shared? God does not demand money for his grace; she gives it freely to all willing to accept it. A prophet does not receive a revelation in order to earn a paycheck; he is given something in trust for the benefit of the people. We should not expect to earn a living by peddling Truth. Be wary of those who claim otherwise.

The true hope that Jesus brought was in his words. Did he heal all the sick and raise all the dead? Of course not. Did those who were healed eventually die? Of course they did. Misery and despair are an inherent part of the human condition. Their cure is not hope of a miracle, but the hope of our Parent's love and compassion. This is the true gift that Jesus brought to his people, but it is one that is difficult to see and feel. So he did a few magic tricks to get the crowds attention. Unfortunately, we are animals more impressed by flashy sparks than by a smoldering fire deep in our soul. It is time that we focus our attention on what is truly eternal, rather than what is pretty for a moment.