Gospel Thoughts 26 June 2011

June 23, 2011 at 10:24 2 comments

Just thinking out loud, wondering . . . with all that is going on these days . . . trying to fit all the stuff into my prayer life and asking where am I going and what am I being led/called upon to do . . . how grace is happening in my life . . .

In today’s Gospel Story (John 6:51-58) Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life”. He does not say whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood according to a specific style, and having met certain standards and being in certain approved categories. He doesn’t say it has to be done only in the way a given religious organization does it. He does not even require asking anyone’s permission. He says this to everyone. He is reaching out to everyone, and in so doing seems to be threatening our sense of security. No organization is in charge of him.

Many religious groups like to feel they have the only inside track. Some go so far as to say whoever disagrees with them or who does not use their exact terminology is wrong, and thereby excluded from the possibility of Jesus. This gives them a sense of security. While Jesus welcomed everyone to his table, many groups set up barriers to keep away from their worship any who do not totally agree with them. Some go so far as to make such an announcement at their worship service, thereby turning Jesus’ inclusiveness into exclusivity. What do we know that Jesus didn’t?

Over the years I have served with many of other traditions whose faith in their approach to living this Story was as deep and profound as my own. Just because they do not do things our way, who is to say they are mistaken? Is there only one way to celebrate the Story? Is it more important to believe the right things about Jesus expressed in strictly delineated terminology than to believe in Jesus? I have no doubt that the wonderful folks I served with are on their own journey with the same Jesus I am trying to follow. We just use different words to try to describe what cannot be described. Who are we to practice exclusiveness when Jesus lived inclusiveness? Jesus offered himself to all who approached him, while we impose restrictions and requirements. What do we know that Jesus didn’t?

These days there are increasing numbers of intentional prayer communities who, for whatever reasons, fell excluded from established church organizations. These gather for their own Eucharistic celebrations, often writing the prayers themselves. They believe they are truly celebrating Eucharist, and who is to say they are not? Just because they are not following “established norms” does not mean Jesus is not among them. After all, he also said, “whenever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them”. While a given religious organization can rightfully establish rules and customs for itself and its members, can it impose those rules and customs on others who are not members? While a religious organization might proclaim itself to be “true”, does this means all others are necessarily false? It would seem that the Story shows the infinite Jesus is beyond all finite groups. What do we know that Jesus didn’t?

Just sayin . . .


Entry filed under: Catholic, Current Church, Gospel thoughts, Priest.

Gospel Thoughts #2 19 June 2011 July 3 2011, Gospel Wonderings

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cherishkulka  |  June 24, 2011 at 09:00

    Thank you for putting it in words that are well written…strange for many years I have always heard how one was to act like a Christian.. it is this the way or no way …. it has always sounded like man speaking….Christ has never denied anyone so long as they ask for him…yes as humanbeings we place the barriers and keep making them higher…Christ is simple in what he requires but our fears of wanting control will and is man’s biggest barrier from Christ. Sometimes I wonder how many of the Christians really know what it is to give of oneself and except another for themselves themselves…Fear is not Love

  • 2. Chaplain gary Moore  |  February 9, 2012 at 17:01

    Your question: “What do we know that Jesus didn’t?”
    AMAZING question… Padre! I need to cypher on this irony for a while. Thanks Padre, Gary


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