Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

At the beginning of this month, my cousin died of cancer. Nicole was a few months shy of her fortieth birthday. She had prayed for a miraculous healing. It did not come. Two days after her death, the son of a dear friend celebrated his fiftieth birthday. Kevin has lived with major medical problems for almost all of those years. He was not supposed to live past four. But grace has rained down upon him. Why? Why does one survive and one not? How many in the crowd surrounding Jesus hoped for a miracle, a healing, for themselves or a loved one? Why were two rewarded, but not the rest?

Life and death. It all feels so capricious. And that notion is exactly what we need to be rescued from. But like a man struggling not to drown, we must trust the arms of our rescuer first. Are you willing to submit to your Parent's logic? Are you willing to surrender to their control? And what might they show you if you are so willing? After my cousin's death, a group of her friends took charge of all the funeral arrangements, allowing her immediate family to simply grieve. So perhaps Nicole's prayers did not go unanswered. And perhaps Kevin has a new guardian angel. Wishful thinking, or a glimpse into grace? I choose to praise our Master and to believe myself rescued. What will you choose?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?" Hard questions, especially right now, but ones we need to hear. Those most affected by the terrorist attack in South Carolina certainly heard them. And we know how they responded to the challenge: with words of forgiveness and mercy towards the man who killed their loved ones. Yes, we should admire such faith. But we must also be on guard against the temptation to water it down into feel-good platitudes or quick-fix solutions. Faith is not meant to be easy or comfortable. The cross attests to as much. Our brothers and sisters at Mother Emanuel have picked up theirs and embarked upon that long, hard road. Will we join them?

And what if we did join them? What might that look like? Might it mean facing up to history we have conveniently ignored? Yes. Or banishing symbols of hatred and oppression from our public spaces? Yes. Or even perhaps the consideration of reparations to those whose lives we have plundered for far too long? Yes. And those are just the easy ones. The hard part comes when we must burrow into our hearts and minds to find those places where we simply refuse to love our neighbors, and then realize that we cannot rip out such cancers nor heal such wounds. The uncomfortable truth of sin is that we are incapable of being the family we are called to be, even as we are obliged to pursue it.

So what do we do? Do we drown ourselves in feel-good platitudes and quick-fix solutions? Or do we wake up and embrace a bold and daring faith? A faith that rebukes injustice and orders misery to be still, while knowing full well that neither will go away. A faith that loves ones enemies, even when they hold a sword to your throat. A faith that claims that, no matter how dire the situation may be, evil will never stand victorious. A faith that trusts our Parent and the strange kingdom they wish us to inherit. Yes, let us give thanks to our Master, for their grace is magnificent and everlasting.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Shoots and seeds. It is who we are and what we have to contribute to the kingdom. And it is enough. So why are we left unsatisfied? Is the builder not working fast enough? Or do we not like the product we see under development? Have any of our efforts to insert ourselves into the process brought about better results? Or do we simply end up taking two steps forward and two steps back? Perhaps now is the time to surrender to our Parent's wisdom, and just be shoots and seeds. Let us love our brothers and sisters, really love them, and trust the kingdom to grow however our Master sees fit.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Is Eucharist for the clean or the unclean? We all know the answer corporate religion gives. They fuss and fret over who should and, perhaps more fervently, should not partake of the sacrament. But I say that Eucharist is not a reward for those who have already gotten life right, but an infusion of grace for those who need it most. And who is more in need than those who are dirty and unkempt? How can we expect anyone who is wallowing in sin to let go of such filth without a little help from the Divine? I tell you that our Parent desires a covenant with all of their children; all, not just a chosen few, or some, or even many, but every last one of us. And if accomplishing such a thing means that sacred bread and wine needs to touch unclean hands and lips, then let us sing alleluia and pass them along.