Thursday, March 28, 2013

Made Glorious

These past reflections were all delivered by me, so that's why the diction resembles the spoken word a bit more than the written word. Please leave a comment below. This was a reflection for 3/26/2013.

Readings: Is 49:1-6, Ps 71, Jn 13:21-33, 36-38 (Link to USCCB)

Jesus was made glorious before all people, but the glory of Jesus mirrors the glory of Israel. Throughout this Lent Scripture has told us the story of Israel. We see that the glory of Israel was not only exposed through miracles, power, and victory, but that her glory was brought about by weakness, sorrow, and betrayal as well.

Jesus, the new Israel, is the same. His glory was revealed through agony, through betrayal, through ridicule, through torture, through abandonment, through injustice, through suffering, and through dying as if he were a disgraced criminal. It was because of these events that the Roman solider could say “Truly this man was the Son of God.”

In the moment it may seem as if our suffering is worthless or that our efforts have been in vain. Scripture teaches us to have hope, that we must be like a farmer who, when he plants his crop, is dependent on the rain and must trust it to bring forth the fruit of his labor.

Our recompense is with God and those who persevere with him will be blessed. But even if we should fail God is ready to accept us again—he suffered all things for our sake and he won't abandon us, even if he leaves us for a time or we leave him for a time.

Trust in him and do not think that we have spent our strength uselessly. Rather, look upon this cross this holy week, and see that there is even glory there.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Measure of Justice

A reflection I gave today (I've been doing a lot of those lately). They are on today's (3/25/2013) readings which may be found here (Is 42:1-7, Ps 27, Jn 12:1-11)

How has Jesus brought justice to the nations? The Gospel warns us that if we view justice as 'everyone having more than what they had' we will be like Judas. It it interesting to note that those who demand justice the most are often those who, in equal measure, neglect mercy.

Justice is not having everything be the same but rather everyone having what he needs. Jesus restores sight to those who are blind, but we should reflect on his words: “those who have eyes ought to see and those who have ears ought to hear.”

Some of us need to hear his voice: Jesus comes to us to speak through a multitude of things.
Some of us need to see him: He meets us in his creation and in his sacraments.

But those who are healthy do not need a doctor, and furthermore those whom God loves he will test. Some of us will want to hear him, but we won't. Some of us will want to see him, but it will appear as if he is hidden. In these instances God is not being unjust—he knows and gives each of us what we need, the very definition of justice.

Justice is not about merely satisfying some agenda or making all of us feel comfortable with our idea of what's fair—for some justice demands more and gives more, for others, less. Be content this day with what God has given you and be generous with others.

God has been gracious in making us a light to all nations and that, in our joys and afflictions, he is always with us. For this it is truly right and just to give him thanks and praise.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Drawing all to Him

A reflection I gave at mass today. The readings may be found here: USCCB website
Please leave some comments below.

God, in his great love, wishes to gather all people to himself. In this grand campaign the Lord asks each of us to be conquerors. Greater still he asks us all to be living borders of his kingdom.

In the time of Jesus, a Jew could only seek forgiveness for his sins in the temple. The Jews considered the temple the center of God's kingdom and the borders of Israel the dwelling place of God. Jesus, when he proclaimed “Destroy this temple and I will raise it in three days” was speaking of himself. He replaced the temple of Jerusalem with himself. It is through Jesus that we are forgiven our sins and it is to Him all people should gather.

Truly, God's love is great because he gave the Jews a temple and a place to heal from their sins. His love is even greater because where many would not or could not go to the temple for healing, Jesus, the new Temple, came to them.

Jesus sends us forth, out of love, for those who do not know him. By our words and actions in this world we extend this holy place, this church, to all of those who are outside of it. We amplify the borders of this church in hope of drawing all to Christ, who is our sanctuary.

We are conquerors over sin and death when others return to Christ on account our words and deeds. Jesus, present in the holy Eucharist, is the temple where one finds pardon and peace.

Draw others to Him so that we may all rejoice in saying “We are his people, and He is our God.”

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Like a Lamb Led to Slaughter

 This a reflection on the readings for 3/16/2013. They can be found here. I would like to write more on my last paragraph. Give me your thoughts below.

The reading and the Gospel today present us with a clear message and a clear warning. If you follow God—if you follow Christ—people will slander you and plot against you. Others, however, will falsely praise you and label you with their own aspirations. We see, all the same, that when Christ failed to meet the expectations of others praise and wonder turned to anger and rejection.

There is no escape from this fate, because those who love the world will hate those who love Christ. But we can guard against such behavior among ourselves.

Scripture gives us the image: like a lamb led to the slaughter—a symbol that conveys innocence, humility, and obedience.

We must be innocent: when we proclaim Christ we must not do so when it is convenient or opportune, but in those difficult day-to-day moments when we are frustrated or rejected. Those who are wicked may win some through their malice, but we will gain more through our gentleness, patience, and persistence.

We must be humble: despite the fruits of our prayer and despite the praise we receive from ourselves and others we must recognize our sinfulness. We are weak and prone to many faults, but accepting this is the road to accepting Christ.

Finally, we must be obedient: there are some leaders and co-workers we do not like, but we cause scandal by being openly critical of them among our brothers and sisters of faith. Though we may disagree, there are times and places disagreement causes rifts that are easier to make than they are to mend.

The Gospel warns us that divisions will arise among us when we emphasize one aspect of our lives or faith above all others. When this happens, truly, each man will “go to his own house” and concern himself with his brother and sister no longer. 

The Good Shepherd will offer his lambs to the Father in a number of ways, not all of them pleasant. The Son offers those who are innocent, humble, and obedient for the benefit of his people. Be willing to be offered today.