Today’s readings are a shortened version from Sunday’s.
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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…
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???
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.
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.
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.
One of the great and beautiful aspects of our Catholic faith is Mystery.
Mystery tells us of a greater Truth that exists, that underlies all. Truth that cannot and must not be limited to narrow and strict definitions, to black and white codes and rules.
Mystery invites us into the Truth. It both humbles us and exalts us.
I can get so discouraged at times.
When I see “good” catholics post hateful things on facebook; be selfish; when it seems that all that I do is for nothing…. when I get it wrong, when I act selfishly, when I make bad choices….
Hope has been hard for me, yet looking back, in every bad situation, new hope arose, new opportunities.
God is in control, not the bad, not the evil, not the stupidness, selfishness, not the hate.
Good is in control, love is in control. That is what some days I cling to.
I have had those times in my life when I have been caught up in my perceived grief. I thought there was little hope, saw no way out. I remained in a dark place.
Always, someone came, something came to me, and showed to me a new possibility, new opportunity. Sometimes in an explicit way, and sometimes in a more subtle way.
Mary was at that same crossroads in her life.
I know that there are times when I want God to just speak out, tell me what I am supposed to do, a sign! I think that is part of our condition.
Those signs I have found are actually the people living out their faith. It is our saints who changed the direction of their lives so as to build up others, create community. It is the men and women who gave of themselves to help others, to heal. It is those dedicated to alleviating the suffering of others I see in the world. These I have seen as signs. They inspire me.
Imagine if I, you and all of us were these living miracles, living signs of proof??
Imagine moving from “I should…” “I have to….”
“I want to…” I want to help this person. I want to forgive that person. I want to pray. I want to go to mass. I want to live well.
This is the move to freedom, this is salvation. It is freedom and salvation, because it is about wanting to do good and because it is a free choice to respond to the Love of the Father.
This is Jesus’ yoke that he offers. It is burden much easier to live with than that of the other option…
the option of selfishness, egotism, and ultimately death.
When I started to make that transition (on going process for me), I found more energy, more life, more joy. Take a moment and listen to our words…if we are using “Should” and “have to” then we are carrying a heavier burden.
It is arrogant to think that I know it all. It is arrogant to say I know everything about a person or situation. When I am arrogant, there is no space for me to be changed, to grow, to be saved. It leads to assumptions, judgements, and condemnations. All it does is create division.
Humility is when I and we accept that there is more to the story, about a person, event or situation. Humility creates space for change, for growth, for wisdom. It creates unity.