Thursday, October 31, 2019

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 3, 2019: The Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost...

Are there limits to God’s love?

  God made everything out of love; love is the reason for everything created; love brought all into existence. Indeed, God’s imperishable spirit is in all things!  And so, as the Book of Wisdom assures us, God loves all things that are and loathes nothing that God has made.  We, like God, hope for final, perfect union when all that God has loved will come together in the Lord, and thus God has mercy on all, seeing our sin yet looking beyond it so that we can heal.  The Lord’s love is the binding force that connects us to all things, even when we don’t want to be, even when we don’t think we are.  Psalm 145 reminds us that grace, mercy, kindness and compassion are all manifestations of God, and so we must praise God’s name forever. 

  In Luke's Gospel, the chief tax collector Zacchaeus is open to these truths when he knows that Jesus is passing through Jericho.  Because of his profession, no one likes Zacchaeus – he is considered by many to be out of the fold, not a child of Israel or Abraham.  Consequently, when Jesus arrives, no one is willing to let Zacchaeus through, so he is forced to climb a tree to see the Lord.  Jesus, however, seeks Zacchaeus out:  Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.  Following the divine model described in the Book of Wisdom, Jesus has come to seek and to save what is lost, and so he overlooks Zacchaeus’ sins, drawing him back into the fold:  this man too is a descendent of Abraham, Jesus says.

   It is not up to us to decide if someone is out of God’s grace – God loves everything God has created, even Zacchaeus.  And, having been received by Jesus, Zacchaeus is perhaps now, as Paul writes to the Thessalonians, worthy of his calling so that God might bring to fulfillment in him every good purpose and every effort of faith.  May we all be so worthy!

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Jesus is always weeping (Timothy Keller)

  Look at Jesus.  He was perfect, right?  And yet he goes around crying all the time.  He is always weeping, a man of sorrow.  Do you know why?  Because he is perfect.  Because when you are not all absorbed in yourself, you can feel the sadness of the world.  And therefore, what you actually have is that the joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow.  It doesn’t come after the sorrow.  It doesn’t come after the uncontrollable weeping.  The weeping drives you into the joy, it enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief without its sinking you.

--Timothy Keller

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

May God bless you with discomfort (Craig Groeschel)

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relations
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

--Craig Groeschel, 
It:  How Churches and Leaders 
Can Get It and Keep It