Gospel Thoughts 14 November 2010, #2

November 9, 2010 at 19:17 Leave a comment


In today’s Gospel Story (Luke 21:5-19) the people are proud of their temple and how it was built. Jesus cautions them that there will be a time when the temple will be torn down stone by stone, and they need to be ready for this. They had put their faith and “connection” with God into a building that was outside themselves. Since they had a beautiful building to go to for relating to God, they did not have to pay too much attention to living with God all the time.

In a religion as structured as ours, it is easy for something similar to happen with us. Our traditions, doctrines and rites, when we let them, lead us to be aware of God present in every area of our life. We often tend to focus entirely on these rather than let ourselves be drawn to where they point us, keeping God at a distance, focusing on what we do and overlooking what God is doing in us. Jesus reminds us time and again that our Father loves us, and that his love, his kingdom, is among us always. Our focus is on ourselves, how good (or “bad”) we are, and on believing the right doctrine, using the right words and following the right laws. In doing all this we are keeping God at a distance from our everyday life. Our version of following Jesus is reduced to laws and ideas, which some use as weapons against any who do agree with their views. We are building our own temple which, eventually, will crumble.

From time to time in our life we might get a sense that we are missing something. At this point we can either chuck it all and walk away, or begin to look for what Jesus said back when he walked the earth and is saying to us now, because it is the same: “my Father loves you, my Father is among you, my Father is in you”. Aberrations in our tradition might teach that we are basically bad, especially if we judge ourselves, and others, by how we follow a particular interpretation of laws and ideas.  This is very true these days with the pervasive internet. Jesus reminds us that we are not bad, but we just don’t know who we are. If we are alive because God pours God’s life into us, how can we be bad?  We are not what we do. We do what we do based on our idea of who we are. If we have a false idea of who we are, we act accordingly. If we do not know that we are truly an image of God, we will not live as an image of God. Instead we keep trying in varying degrees to prove ourselves, and so we might act in ways that are artificial – following standards that we got from someone else. We leave little room for grace because we feel we do not “deserve” grace, or that grace is a nice doctrine without any real everyday impact. And since we feel we have things figured out, we don’t know that we don’t know. What we really don’t know is our own goodness.

In the Opening Prayer we ask God, and believe this is what God is really doing in us, to “expand our hearts with the joy of his promises”. How often do we really think of joy in connection with trying to follow Jesus? Yet, as we come to know him in our everyday life, we also find that joy is a good word to use, because it is describing what we are experiencing in our life. As we move ahead on our journey we might experience some of what Jesus talks about in the Story, because our familiar defense shields are collapsing, and we are moving into the mystery of God, which is also the mystery of ourselves. And we are finding out that these mysteries are good, and as we persevere on our journey we find ourselves entering everyday with a new depth and richness that is beyond what we would ever have expected when we were keeping God at a distance.

 

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Entry filed under: Catholic, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts 14 November 2010 11 November, Veterans’ Day 2010, Random Meanderings

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