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Salvation is about Unity.  It is darned hard to be unified with others, when “I” am too concerned with “me” and forget about others.  Greed is the outward sign of that inward preoccupation.

Christ offers us a better way.  I with you and all, the we.

Attitude and Heart

I admit to being lazy.  There are times (more often than not) that I just want to do the minimum and be called good.  

Unfortunately that does not work well with being a true disciple of Christ.

I have heard it from people in counseling, and at times I have expressed it:  Why is God doing this to me!

God is with us, never against us.  God does it with us, not to us.

the source

I can blame others for my sins, blame things for my sins…Jesus says the reality is that it lies within me.  The way I react to others and things can be where the sin comes from.

I can only control myself (barely)

Chaos theory

S*&t happens!  We can let it control us, or we can go through it and thrive.  When I have focussed in on the chaos, I have remained in the chaos.  When I finally get my act together and focussed ahead of me, and the Christ around me…I move forward.

ROM 8:35, 37-39

Brothers and sisters:  What will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword?   No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.   For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

I think that St. Paul’s words are and continue to be a source of conversion; words that inspire us to reflect more deeply upon our own relationship, our own life with Christ..

Did we hear them well?

There is absolutely nothing that will can take God’s, Christ’s love away from us. It is always with us.  This is more than just sweet words:  this is powerful stuff.

I used to wonder how a mother or father can love a child, even when that child does horrendous things.  I used to think Love was something felt, something earned, something given, something proven.    For me, I had to grow in that understanding.  I used to think that Love was something I had to earn and prove.

But, to know that we are loved, that someone sees goodness within us and that capacity for goodness, this changes everything.  It can change everything.

There is reason to hope; there is reason to live; there is a reason to change and let ourselves be changed.

I imagine a man or woman in prison, who has little to live for, yet clings to the reality that he or she is at least loved by one person; and even more so, by God.  This is the good news!

No matter what, God sees the goodness within and believes in that goodness.  It does not have to be earned, won, purchased.  It is freely given, without cost.  There is absolutely nothing that can remove, take away that Love.

Jesus lived this, it permeated everything he did: from the miracles, such as feeding thousands, to the healings; to giving of his very life on the cross.  Love brings life!

Our lives are spent responding to that Love.  It is responding by loving others, and bringing forth that inherent goodness.

 

Horrible things happen when we fail to love, when we fail to see goodness in others:  Holocausts of Peoples, Terrorists attacks; domestic violence; poverty; crime; depression; isolation.  We sin when we fail to see good in others; and most especially when we tell others they are not worthy of love.

We can do this in very subtle ways…like not paying our employees sufficient wages, while we ourselves live with more than enough;  it happens when we tell people they are not welcome here!

Of course there are those who are very, very blatant in their message of anti-love, and I am thinking of that Baptist community that always comes to funerals et al with their Anti-Christ signs…”God hates fags.”  These people who claim Christianity, whom God also loves, do not know God’s love personally.

I am convinced that if we Catholics and all Christians truly believed in this core message of the Gospel,  a message that St. Paul experienced and delivered, and that if we truly lived it…we could change our world for the better.  If we Catholics and all Christians were true to our nature that all are loved by God no matter what…so much violence can be removed.

It begins with each of us having that recognition, that experience of God’s love in our own lives: that personal experience.   That personal experience can only lead us to a great participation in community, in unity, in church and family.

If we each took time to listen, and not rush to judgement, not rush to condemn, but listen to a person, see a person, see a person who is loved by God and needs love from us; then we are fulfilling our very nature as humans persons and church.

All this may sound corny, but again, Love is NOT about some emotion.    Love is that conscious choice to see goodness, to believe in the goodness of a person and persons.  That takes bravery!  That takes strength!  That takes humility.  Above all it takes Grace.

God sends love to us, so that we too may respond and love.  This action of sending Grace and responding to grace is sacramentalized in our Eucharist.    We come together as an assembly of believers; we hear of God’s covenant and God’s history with us; we give thanks for the salvation given to us in Christ, and then we receive that Love made present and real in the bread and wine that become the person of Jesus Christ.

Then, we GO and respond to this Love.  We Go to forgive.  We GO to heal.  We GO to share the Good News.  We GO to Love.

Today’s readings are a shortened version from Sunday’s.

I admit to having control issues, but I am in control of my control issues (at least I hope so).

I don’t know about you, but my life can be very busy.

There are all the planned chores, tasks, functions and meetings that I have at the Pastoral center, then add to that all the unexpected interruptions and requests that come in.  Then there is on top of that the need to cook, clean, shop, pray, sleep, care for the pets, exercise, write homilies, spend time with friends, hear confessions, preside at mass, write other stuff…

Photo on 6-23-12 at 12.33 PM #4

It adds up.  I get frustrated at times.  I lose my sense of peace, my wonder at the world.  I become apathetic.

Thank God I am NOT a husband and parent, because I can’t imagine having all that plus running kids to sports, to play dates, to ensuring they have good food, they are clean, they are happy, and that I am giving my attention to them and to the spouse.

Then I read this parable and think, “Oh mannnn, Here is Jesus telling me that my life is to be dedicated and focussed on the Kingdom and living in the kingdom, when am I going to fit that in?”

I am already too busy.

Is Jesus being unreasonable to us who live in the 21st century???

Clearly not.

 

Jesus loves us, and has loved us always.

Jesus is not necessarily imposing more tasks upon us…that is my, and I suspect you too, American attitude that “if I but do more, then I do well.”

Jesus is correct in that the Kingdom is to be first in our lives; it is to be the focus of our lives.  But again, this is not about tasks, work, events, chores, this is something deeper.

This is where I had my revelation.

 

Look at Solomon in the first reading.  This new king asked for wisdom, to help him be a better king.  He wanted a way of life to guide him in his duties and responsibilities as a king.  So that he could serve the people well.

 

Our wisdom is the Kingdom.    The kingdom is about community and unity, it is about recognizing and living in Love of God and others.  It is about trust in the Love of the Father.

When we keep this in our hearts and minds this profound wisdom changes all those other tasks. These tasks, chores, work become “resurrected;” from being menial things we “have” to do, to actions of life that we “want” to do.  We keep them as ways in which we build up love, in which we can create community, in which we invite God’s grace into our days.

When we keep this wisdom and apply this wisdom the day can be transformed.

It can take the unpleasantness out of a situation.

 

I was talking with a new father once, not a priest father, but a father father, a real father.   I told him that probably for me the hardest thing if I were a father father would be those diaper changes.  UGGGH.

His response…He loved changing diapers!  It was his time to give such tender care to his child.  It was a privileged moment in his day in which he focussed on the need of his child and was able to make his child feel better.

It was eye opening for me. That is living in the kingdom.  STATUE OF ST. JOSEPH HOLDING BABY JESUS SEEN INSIDE GEORGIA CHURCH

 

Eucharist is our call to keep the building up of the kingdom in our hearts and minds.  I am fairly sure that 99.9% of us here are NOT called to live in monasteries, and to give hours and hours of prayer to God.     That is not our Vocation, that is not our spirituality.

Our Vocation, our spirituality, as husbands and wives, as parents, grandparents, as lay persons and us who are diocesan priests, is to make real and present the kingdom in our lives.   It is to live it among the cooking, the cleaning, the work, the play, the friendships…. It is to make real the love of God and the desire for unity and community in the tasks that we do, day in and day out.

Our spirituality is eucharistic, in that we are the body of christ, giving of ourselves for others, with others, so that all may be lifted up.

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When I get too caught up in my tasks, etc, then I become the grumpy old priest that I so do not want to be.  Because God knows that there are tooo many of the already in the church. I have to catch myself, and be lifted up in Christ, to take these day to day tasks, and dedicated them to the kingdom.  When I do that, I find joy in them.

 

And having Joy in life is part of our salvation.  Do we have it?

I don’t know about you, but my life can be very busy.

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

SHANE ROS

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