Sunday, July 28, 2013

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me." Yes, God answers all prayers. If we ask, we will receive. If we seek, we will find. And if we knock, a door will open. But the room beyond is rarely the one we expect. Just look at the life and death of Father Stanley Rother, who was murdered on this date in 1981. He went to Guatemala to serve God's people, wound up on a death list, then made his way back to the U.S. and safety. But the people needed their priest, so he returned. They asked; he gave. Fr. Stan knocked on doors few dare to approach. And while he is not yet an official saint, is there any doubt about the home he was welcomed into? God is not a magic genie, fulfilling our every wish and desire. No, grace is a much better gift, for it satisfies our true needs, always. So let us be bold enough to seek, knowing we will find the unexpected kingdom. Brother Stan, pray for us!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"You are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing." We were created to be witnesses to something breathtakingly wonderful. That is our purpose, no more, no less. Most of the time, however, we choose to ignore that purpose. Driven by ego and fear, we busy ourselves with the drama of human civilization. We mistake survival for meaning, then must denigrate the truth, because otherwise our extraordinary efforts would appear as foolish as they really are. Fortunately for us, grace never stops calling, so it is never too late to choose "the better part."

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"For this command that I enjoin on you today is not too mysterious and remote for you … No, it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out." As much as we like to pretend otherwise, we know perfectly well who our neighbor is and how they should be treated. But just like the priest and the Levite, we can always come up with an excuse to justify walking on the other side of the road. We get so invested in our ideologies and assumptions, that refusing to give mercy and love can actually feel like righteousness. And sometimes, we get so consumed by an indignant sense of justice, that we do injustice to our brothers and sisters. Perhaps you have seen evidence of that phenomenon this weekend? There is good news, however, because it turns out that the Samaritan is not a foreigner after all. No, it is a truth "very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"The kingdom of God is at hand." Its beauty would take our breath away, if only we were not so blind. But we are, so our vigil continues. We wait for Isaiah's vision to be fulfilled. We wait for the promised comfort, which all the while lies before us, just waiting to be claimed. We refuse it, because it looks like "the marks of Jesus" rather than the paradise of our dreams. Perhaps we will envy Sodom's fate one day, for our stubborn blindness does far more damage than any divine punishment could.