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Today, I woke up angry and also with some scare.  I had a busy weekend, I have a busy week etc…. and I am feeling overwhelmed.  And not feeling very “Christ” like.

Trying to practice what I preach here; voicing to God what I am angry about, working on what I can control, and letting God handle the other 99.99999999%.  Doing the same with the fear.

It is not always easy being Catholic/Christian.  It is not always easy being a priest.

The antidote to all that complaining….gratitude.  Instead of always focussing on what we expect, we focus on what we have.  Try it!

Someone told me once  “You would complain if I hanged you with a new rope!”   He was chiding me about my number of complaints.

I think complaints are the outward sign of our own anger…we expect something of someone, and it is not met.  So we BMW about it (*itch, moan and whine).

When I catch myself complaining, that means I have to sit with myself and figure out my anger, and then ask myself what I can do about this anger.  It becomes an opportunity to grow.

Jesus had to deal with anger…he own and that of others.  He took action, positive action.   Will I?

Redirection to love

Lk 7.11-17

The gospel writers are clever in their redirections.  On the surface this is a miracle of Jesus raising a man from the dead.  Underneath, the reality is that Jesus is fulfilling the law to take care of the widows, and  the most vulnerable.  It is a social justice issue.

Reminds me that I have to fulfill the law as well, and make sure that I am caring for the most need.  Why?  Because God cares for them and loves them as God loves me and all.  It is only human therefore to care for those most in need.

humility is the hard part of this equation…

working on it though

Exaltation of the Cross

Many years ago, as a kid, I saw part of a black and white movie in which a vampire, under the light of a full moon was destroyed when the hero turned the arms of a windmill, and the shadow created by the full moon was a cross.

As a kid, i thought that kind of cool.  As an adult, kind of hokey.

It brings us to a question.  What is the cross??

Is it a magical object that wards off evil, kills vampires?  Clearly not.  Is it a fashion item that we wear around our necks to show off?  For some, yes.

But for us, as Christians, it must have a deeper significance.  We wear it, we display it, we incorporate it in our rituals because it is a symbol of love.

It is a symbol of how Love conquers hate/death/fear/anger/grief.  It is a symbol of how we as humans are to trust that God so loves us.

Jesus trusted completely in the Father’s love.    This was his “power” if you will to heal, to forgive, to walk on water, change water to wine.  Eventually, it will be his power to accept a horrible form of execution, death on the cross.

In that, he trusted in the love of the Father; he trust that the Father would make all good.  Which we believe he did, this is the resurrection.

The Father has the same infinite, perfect divine love for us.  This is the good news.  The Father loves us unconditionally.  This is our freedom, this is our salvation.  When we rest in the love of the Father, THERE is our identity.  That is who we are as a person, and as a community.  We are the children of God.

Think back to Adam & Eve and the “original sin”.  They gave their identity, they put their faith into an object, a thing.  They became then a slave of the things, of all created things.

Jesus reversed this.

We all have a choice that make are called to make each day, many times a day.  Will we choose the “Fruit” or God?  Will we identify ourselves with a thing, whether it be money, power, status, political party, our religion, clothes, appearances, etc…

or  will we choose love of God?

I know it sounds a bit straightforward, but the truth is, subtly we tend to make the first choice.  That old ego of ours is the problem.   Once we identify ourselves with the things, we then have to protect ourselves, we have to protect those things..

So we fight, we kill, we hoard, we attack, we lie, we gossip, etc .  Look at our politics, look at our communities, look at our world.  People suffer from this.  We cause the hunger, the thirst, the wars, the poverty, the death.

Love of the Father frees us.  When we truly place our faith, our hope, our identity in the love of God, then we don’t have to worry about our “things”.  There is no need to attack, destroy, protect or hoard.

There is only the need to respond to the Love of the Father by loving those around us.  When we are truly rooted in the love of the Father we as a community can look out for one another, ensure the well-being of all.

We as Christian thrive when we are like this, parishes thrive.

The Cross stands as a symbol against the evil of “idolatry”, of giving ourselves to things.  It is not a magical object, but symbol of our daily commitment to be the children of God.  To make the right decision, to continue to same choice that Jesus made…to trust in the love of the Father.

Of course, it is not easy.  That is why we have the Sacraments, the signs of God’s love for us.  God is constantly loving us, that is grace.  It is to empower us to make the hard choices, choices that in the short term will seemingly make us suffer, but in the long term…will bring to us life.

These sacraments too remind us that we are a community, gathered around and in Christ to support one another.  And to forgive one another when bad decisions are made.

It all comes down to Love, God’s love for us.

So when we look upon the cross, when we place those crucifixes and crosses around our heads, we choose love, we act in love.

Abraham made a choice to believe, and started a process that culminated with the decisions of Mary and Joseph.  They participated with God to bring about unity and the transformation of humanity through Jesus Christ.

My choice, our choice today???????

Community, our salvation is experienced in community, our very nature as human beings is communal.

Yet, this is a very difficult aspect to live.  Something that is natural to us, can evade us.

There is one reason, ego.

 

We were created within a community;  a community of God, other people and the world around us.  Harmony existed, paradise, as long as humanity maintained its place, its right relationship with the divine.

The ego put a stop to that.  We wanted more.  We wanted to be as God without the help of God.  We placed our hope in a fruit.  Harmony was broken; relationships were hurt, Adam and Eve, Cain & Abel, and those early stories of human civilization.

God called for that right relationship through the prophets and restored them in Jesus Christ.  We see Jesus form and reform community and the meaning of community.

He gathered the 12 disciples as a living symbol of God’s desire to reform Israel and all of humanity; to heal and unite all peoples into a community.  We are restored when we act as Christ: when we are humble and willing to give of ourselves  This includes doing our part to heal broken relationships, a broken community.

The Gospel shows us that we must strive always, work always to bring people back into relationships.  Our goal must be to bring people back, and not exclude.

We must act with humility.  We must love.  See, when we are truly a community; looking out for one another, helping one another, letting ourselves be helped, then  we are free!  Free to experience life, free to Love.

When we are in communion with others, there is so much less to fear.

This is a constant work for us.  Those egos of ours are still at work, demanding from others; concerned only with my needs, wants and desires; Protecting my stuff, ect.

We see breakdowns in marriages, families, church and society because of our egos.  Poverty, divorce, crime, violence, this is because we are not acting as a community, but as selfish little brats.

The original sin of our ego.

We Catholics are called to be different.  We must be different.  We must not let our egos control us; we must not let our differences divide us.

Rather, we must model, lead by example and show our young persons and show the rest of the world the power of living in and being community.

Think what we could loose upon the earth!  How much ease of suffering of those who hunger and thirst, who struggle to survive.

We call “Communion” communion for a reason.  It is our sacrament of harmony; of being in communion, with God, with others, and with all of creation.  It is our reminder of who we are to be, our reinforcement of how to be.  It is God giving of God’s self, love, to us and for us; so that we might love and give of ourselves to and for others; so that we might participate in the same sacrifice of Christ, make it real in our own lives and experience the life that come with it.

 

I am only me, if I am with you, and you with me, and we are with God.  I, We it is community.

 

This will always be a work in progress, but that is what we are about.  Our salvation is experienced in a community.   There was a reason why Jesus was not a loner, but created a community about him.

Yet, for me, it can be very difficult to be in community.  I get stressed, my ego takes over, my fears take over…

Jesus came to build or re-build community.  Our salvation is found in community.  Our very nature as humans is communal (Trinity).

It can be difficult work to live within community…healing/forgiveness are essential.

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