Saturday, February 26, 2011

Ordinary Time 8

I remember my high school physics teacher saying often, “That life is too short to worry. It all comes out in the wash.” A buddy of mine amended that quote with “But sometimes we need to add more detergent.” Even Jesus said not to worry. How is it then that we spend a lot of our life worrying about things we have no control over. Our lives can be devastated by worry. Ask someone who has an ulcer. Why can’t we just “let go and let God?”

Today’s gospel reminds us not to worry about tomorrow but to trust in God’s providence. Jesus is calling us to surrender all our anxieties and insecurities to God. Through faith and trust in God’s providence, we can become better able to turn life’s pages one by one, to live each day as if it were our last, to set aside yesterday’s regrets and to deal with tomorrow’s troubles only when tomorrow becomes today. Let us then pray for the grace to believe that it might be possible to replace worry with trust.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ordinary Time 7

There is a saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Whether friend or enemy, the life of faith, is about relationships and how we choose to live them. In the Gospel we are told to turn the other cheek, to live in the face of hatred, to love our enemies. Jesus offers a choice that differs from the conventional wisdom of the world. The real spirit of Jesus’ teaching is in the beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” St. Francis of Assisi said, “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”

Jesus is trying to instill in us a holiness that is above our understanding, yet within our grasp by his grace. As believers in Jesus we are called beyond the law and beyond even the most generous ethical humanism to a perfection that reflects the true spirit of Jesus. This is a holiness that prevents revenge and retaliation while bringing forth a love that can only come from Christ alone. We, for our part, are to welcome this love and decide by the strength of that love living in us, to take Jesus at his word.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ordinary Time 6

Our readings for this Sunday may appear very hard. We don’t like anyone telling us how to behave. Our Psalmist reminds us that those who follow the law of the Lord are blessed. Laws are written to keep order in our society. Law restricts us to live within the bounds of human society so that one person’s individual actions do not impinge on another’s. Speed limits and stop signs are simple examples of this. Following those laws ensures safe driving for all who use the roads. Lacking such laws would make it risky to step out of the house.

Jesus expects his followers to go beyond the minimum standards set by the law. Think about how you felt the last time someone courteously gave way to you at a four-way stop. That simple gesture goes beyond the requirements of law. So should all of our actions.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ordinary Time 5

At our baptism, we were entrusted with a baptismal candle and told to keep the light of Christ bravely burning in our hearts. We are reminded by today’s readings not to hide that light, but to use it to help transform the darkness of this world. Jesus equated the good deeds we do for others with the light that enables others to see and believe and glorify God. This wonderful light comes from Jesus, for it is Christ who shines in us for the world to see. By being that light of Christ we help others find their way to Jesus. Now that is a great light.