Sunday, August 25, 2013

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Let's be honest, most of us are relieved by Jesus' answer. Sure, we might have a nagging doubt about being "strong enough" to get in on the first try, but that's what Purgatory is for. What we really want to know, however, is if "those people" will make the cut. You know, the ones whose membership in the Scum of the Month Club nobody quibbles over. Surely we won't have to sit next to them in the kingdom. Right? It's only fair! Yes, we are all God's children. But some of our siblings are just utterly incapable of being "trained" by our Parent's discipline. Why shouldn't they get locked out? That's what "evildoers" deserve! Right? And there it is. We will always and forever be the elder brother, fuming that the Prodigal One is back in the house. After all, what truly matters is being in God's company and listening to their word. Right? So by all means, let us "strive to enter through the narrow gate." But let's also strive to not be too surprised or disappointed when we find out that our Brother failed to mention that the kingdom's back door is a bit wider.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." The great temptation today will be to minimize these words. Don't. Instead, embrace them in all their uncomfortable glory. God does not send prophets to pat us on the back and affirm our life choices. We have plenty of self-appointed guru-cheerleaders for that. No, a prophet's job is to bring us Truth. And rare is the person who welcomes that little gift, for Truth always takes us to places we'd really prefer to avoid: accept your penance, sacrifice for your siblings, love those you despise. The prophet knows that some will refuse to make the journey. They know they are bringing chaos into our family. But they are servants of Love. And love can never thrive in a kingdom of ignorance, even if it is a peaceful one. So let us be grateful for our demoralizers and dividers. They serve us well.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." Just a cliche. Just a lead-in to more important ideas. Certainly not something to dwell on. But what if you did? What if you took a good look around your home today? What if you really examined your treasures? Are they necessities, luxuries, mere toys? Where exactly is your heart located? And are you proud to be at that place?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

If these readings do not trouble you, then your head is buried in the sand, or elsewhere. Our culture, our civilization, our very lives are nothing more than the pursuit of vanities. They might help our time here to pass more pleasantly, but they will soon crumble to dust, never to be remembered. Just look around you. We have been graced with the ability to know the beauty, wonder, and glory of Creation. But we choose to spend our days chasing wealth, conflict, and amusement. We choose the path of the fool. It need not be this way, however. "Seek what is above." We can choose to let go of vanity, bit by bit, drop by drop, until nothing remains except something wonderful. We may be called fools, just as our crucified Brother was. But if we are to be fools one way or the other, then let us be fools "rich in what matters to God." And as much we might like to play dumb, to pretend we are ignorant of such riches or confused as to where to find them, we are not. Love. Love your Parent, your neighbor, yourself. Love. It really is that simple. Do not let vanity tell you otherwise.