Sunday, July 27, 2014

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

No matter how great a treasure might be, there is a bit of craziness to the idea of selling everything one has in order to go all in on a single item. We try so hard to make faith sensible. Why? What are we afraid of? Solomon's wisdom did not come from rational intellect, after all, but from the gift of an "understanding heart". Without this latter grace, how could anyone make sense of God's commands, let alone love them? Yes, it takes a bit of lunacy to find the kingdom of heaven, but do not fear the act of embracing such faith, for only a beautiful insanity could reveal such wonderful Truth.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

There is a certain appeal to today's first parable, given the evil that surrounds us. This weekend, the headlines come from Gaza and Ukraine. Next weekend … Too many of our brothers and sisters have already been cast into a "fiery furnace", from where even the deaf can hear their "wailing and grinding of teeth". So yes, there is a certain appeal to the idea that those who cause this misery will get what is coming to them in the end. But such vengeful delight can only be indulged by ignoring the caution implicit in the parable. Who is wheat, and who is weed? How many of us turn a blind eye to our own complicity in the headlines that make us wince? Are there any among us who have not caused one of our siblings to sin? Are there any among us who have never participated in some form of evil? By all rights, those bundles of weeds should be as numerous as the stars. We are most fortunate, then, that God is "good and forgiving", "lenient to all". And I say that our Parent will never consider one of their children to be a weed. So is the parable a bluff to get us to behave? Or is it a warning about the nature of the kingdom of heaven, where the veil of our limited vision will be lifted, and we will know with certainty of the misery we have caused? Such knowledge would indeed be a "fiery furnace" and just cause for "wailing and grinding of teeth". "Whoever has ears ought to hear."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are creatures of such stunningly limited vision. I was reminded of this truth in an unexpected way this weekend. LeBron James' decision to return home to Ohio was a jolt to our conventional wisdom. As one sportswriter, who four years ago referred to James as the "King of Crass", wrote yesterday, "Few actually believed he would pick Cleveland. How can spending four years as the leader of a renowned sports circus actually make an athlete more grounded?" In other words, few saw Miami as rich soil, and yet it seems like it was. Perhaps more significantly, many questioned whether James himself was rich soil, and now they are rejoicing at being proven wrong. But what if James had made a different choice? Would that have spoken more to the quality of his soil or our vision? How often do we misjudge the ground upon which our Parent has sown their seed? "My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it." We are a product of that word. And there is not a single one of us who is not rich soil. Each of us will produce the fruit that God desires, even if that means "groaning in labor pains" for generation after generation. So let us "shout and sing for joy", for never has there been a harvest more wonderful that this.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." The frightening truth is that our time on this speck of rock is not nearly as monumental as we would like to believe. Perhaps if we stopped scurrying around trying to build our various fiefdoms, especially the ones being built in God's name, we might notice how very grand life is and how very little our Parent demands of us in return for that gift. "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest … For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."