Christ the King – We still have issues with Jesus!

Christ the King

 

My friends…in many ways and at many times in our lives I believe we still have a problem with Jesus.

 

We profess to be Christians…followers and believers in God revealed to us in and through the person of Christ…but

 

In many ways this Christ still doesn’t make sense to us….

 

As Christians we stand for justice, for right relationship, for equality and compassion…all good…

 

But sometimes we do so from a position of the first criminal who spoke in the scriptures tonight…from a position of fear, anger, resentment and rage. 

 

We call for justice, for recognition, for acknowledgement, for affirmation, for equal treatment…but we do so as we speak our voice from our hurt, pain, sorrow, anger and woundedness.

 

We much like this crimnal want and expect and sometimes even demand a pray that God will right the wrong….. 

 

We cry out in our hurt and pain and woundedness….save yourself and us!  Now!

 

Does it not sound similar to many times we have held signs, marched and protested in the face of the religious establishments, political or social establishments….

 

I wonder…..I wonder if

 

Would it not be much more powerful if we were to do and be those things from a position of gratitude, humility and grace.

 

The second criminal….did not deny, minimize or shun himself or what he had done…his was a position of acceptance….total acceptance…of himself and of God’s love, mercy, and redemption.

 

What if our signs read something like:  We are all God’s Children, Loved and Redeemed!

 

I am not suggesting we step back from our dedication, commitment, fervor or activism for justice and equality.

 

I am only suggesting that we make certain that we do all those things from the position of acceptance, and love….not anger, fear and resentment.

 

The law of attraction reiterates that we attract what we provide….fear or love….the decision is ours…

 

I wonder which we will chose?

 

Remember every pearl is born only out of the woundedness caused by a grain of sand, surrounded and nurtured by years of love, and layers of grace upon grace.  The wound is transformed from hurt and pain to pure beauty only by being surrounded and enveloped in the warmth of the heart of the clam.

 

Lets make pearls my friends….really big…really beautiful manifestions of Gods abundant love.  Amen!

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What if it was proved that God really didn’t exist?

32 Sunday Ordinary Time Yr C.  2013

 

 

Pause……long….to the point of uncomfortable….

 

The Lectionary has an amazing way to lead us in our journey, and today is no exception my friends!

 

This is one of the questions that was laid in my lap as I walked through this week:

 

What if it was proved that God really did not exist? 

What would you do?

 

After pondering I replied:  Well, I would hope that my life at least did not make anyone else’s life any worse or more burdened, and at best, I would hope that maybe over the years I was able to offer some hope, healing, love and companionship to someone else along the way.

 

And…I added:

 

From what I have seen and witnessed in my life and the lives of many others, I would hope that I would continue to believe that the proof was wrong!

 

Two days later another question was laid in my lap:

You are a believer right?

 

To which I was happy to say: 

 

Yes indeed I am a believer…

 

but understand I may not believe in the same way that you do, but trust me, I do believe!

 

You see my friends the readings over these past few weeks, as we near the end of the liturgical year and with the First Week of December will begin a new liturgical year….they are readings which cause us to pause and ask ourselves some very deep and very profound questions. 

 

Questions about humility, about life and death, about the paradoxes in which we live and the love that we are encouraged to live in, and about eternity.

 

One of my Spiritual Directors said the most profound homily he ever heard was given on a retreat he attended.  He said it was only three sentences long but he had not stopped contemplating its depth in over 20 years:

 

Life is short.  Eternity is long.  Think about it!

 

Our history is riddled with torture, abuse, neglect, prejudice,…we have shamed, killed and maimed millions of people, all in the name of God…..or should I say…..all in the name of religion which has taught us how we ought to believe about God.

 

If this Gospel story does nothing else for us today, at the very least it ought to stand as a constant reminder, that what we know and understand and how we speak about God and eternity we will NEVER grasp the profundity of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I leave you today with these words to ponder from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians:  

 

 

May our God, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through grace, encourage our hearts and strengthen us in every good deed and word!

 

And with this question:

 

What if it was proved that God really did not exist? 

What would we do?

 

 

 

Being humble does not mean being insignifigant!

Have we ever taken the time to think deeply about humility? 

 

I spent the great majority of this exploring it…

 

asking myself and others who the most humble person was that they knew…

 

and why they characterized that person as humble.

 

What is surprising…

 

I often knew of the people that other folks identified as the most humble person they knew…..

Jesus, Gahndai, Mother Teresa, Pope Francis, St. Francis, often a teacher, or grandmother, or dad or mom,  or some person of signifigance in their lives.

 

We can often make an awful mistake in interpreting this Gospel pericope. 

 

To be humble does not mean to be insignificant!

 

In fact quite the opposite is true….

 

the person who is truly humble is often quite signifigant in one’s life or in the world!

 

Believe me…

 

as I spent the four grace filled days with Mother Teresa in WashingtonDC….

 

her habit was clean and pressed, she ate well, she was housed at a nice hotel, and was well tended to….

yet she was and is probably one of the most humble people I will ever know. 

 

She knew who she was, and what she was being called to be for the world and for the poor…

 

she also knew she was no better and no worse than any other person…

 

in fact at one point she said to our group….

 

we all stand in need of God’s love….

 

now that is true humility!

 

 

Each and everyone of us is infinitely important in the reign of God…

 

only we can share with the world God from our perspective…

 

while we are infinitely important, and in the same breath we are not the be all and end all of the reign of God….

 

we are one of many facets….

 

one of many ways of touching the Divine which is beyond our individual grasp.

 

Humility does not have to do with morality…

 

we are human..

 

we stand in judgment of one another each and every day….

humility has to do with our understanding of our place…

namely none of us save ourselves…

 

God does that!

 

None of us meets out God’s mercy….God does that!

 

None of us redeems the world…

 

we either contribute to that redemption or dilute from seeing it come to fruition!

 

Being humble is not self deprecating, or self depreciating, or self destructing…

 

being humble means celebrating our giftedness, celebrating what we are and can contribute to the world and recognizing in the same breath that each and every person stands in need of God’s mercy and love and is ultimately redeemed by Christ, not by us.

 

Adam and Eve…tree of the knowledge of good and evil….the sin wasn’t eating…the sin was our desire to stand in judgement of each other…as if we are superior or inferior to one another.

 

I have had the opportunity to meet several people whom I think model true humility.

 

Mother Teresa….she didnt walk around with her hands folded and the rosary beads clanking…in fact at one point in my time with her she said…sometimes I pray these just to keep my mouth shut!

 

Humble doesn’t mean being dirt poor…it means being poor in spirit…poor in realizing that in God’s eyes we are precious, loved, redeemed and showered with mercy….Gods mercy not ours!

 

Humble as a Church mouse…..I have known many a Church mouse that has quitely and consistenly chewed and gnawed their way into and thru the wires of a church enough to start a fire and bring it down to a pile of ashes!

 

There is power in being humble…

 

The pharisee prayed to himself….the tax collector prayed to God….I wonder who we pray to?

 

Humble prayer pierces the clouds….

 

not because it is better than anyone elses…

 

but because it reminds us of our need for God. 

 

Timothy says…I have fought the good fight…I have finished the race….

 

not I have won the fight….and not …I took first place in the race….

 

We all walk this journey of faith in our own unique way and its not a journey of win or lose…its a journey to the heart of Christ…

 

Where we all are one….where we all stand in need of God’s mercy…as recipients of God’s love….and filled with Gods grace!

 

Stieny….my first Spiritual Director..God rest his soul…used to say…never confuse piety with humility….one is a show and the other is a way of understanding oneself in light of God…sometimes they meet…most often they don’t!

 

I hope and pray that we are all can grow into being humbly significant !