22nd Sunday Ordinary Time
I do not know what your lived experiences are….but I do know mine and lets see if they might jell with each other.
When I was growing up…I was encouraged to question, to explore, to look at new things and do things at least in almost every area of my life, except…..religion!
My Church was not a place that I felt I could question much of anything…..
In fact I remember having grown up in a small rural town in Neb. being taught by very well intentioned and loving volunteers….some where around 3rd or 4th grade…going through the Baltimore Catechism I was given an assignment one week….to write out may answers to the questions for the chapter that had been assigned.
Did you catch the nuance….to write out the ANSWERS…..there as maybe some of you recall were questions in black and white, numbered and bolded…and what followed was the answer and explanation.
It was as if someone had magically asked all the questions that were to be asked……
But the inquisitive mind of this 3rd grader did not quite agree…..you see I believed there were questions that were not asked that were generated by the answers that were supposedly given.
So for my assignment I wrote out the answers and I wrote out an additional question for each answer.
Needless to say, as we were going around our huge group of 6 at CCD on Weds night and we were invited to share our answers….I shared mine along with the questions I had regarding the answers.
I remember clearly, my volunteer CCD teacher..she was a family friend, a very kind lady, who looked at me all red and flustered and told me I was to go home and talk to my Mom.
3rd Grade and I got kicked out of CCD!
This Gospel reminds me of many things like that, growing up…Church was not a place to question anything……
I hope and pray that is not our experience of Church at all……I hope and pray that as a community we are known as a place in which every question, every thought, every insight has a safe place to land.
I do not beleive that Jesus was telling the Sadduces or the Pharisees that the law or traditions of the elders was wrong….I do believe Jesus was saying to them and to us….its ok to question….its ok to wrestle with God. Why because our God is so much bigger than any one law or any one tradition.
The other day at prison, I was confronted with this question:
Do you believe there is an ultimate truth?
Followed by the person proclaiming his deeply held Christian position and how any one else who didn’t profess it in the same way was certainly not assured of eternal life.
I took that experience to prayer over this past week…..
My friends…the older I get and the longer I live…the more I am convinced that there is indeed ultimate truth….
And I believe as firmly and as devoutly that my understanding of that truth might just not be the sum total of it!
Maybe as life confronts us in the week ahead and we run headlong into something we may have always thought was the only way to believe, or understand it…we can take a step back and ask ourselves if there is another facet of our amazing God that we just did not see.
Faith is like a diamond…..it shines differently with every turn….