July 3 2011, Gospel Wonderings

July 1, 2011 at 11:46 1 comment


In today’s Gospel Story (Matthew 11:25-30) Jesus thanks his Father because “although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you have revealed them to little ones”. He goes on to invite all who are burdened to come to him and he will give us rest. He does not say that he will take our burdens from us, nor does he offer his followers and easy life.

Perhaps the “wise and the learned” might be the folks who have all the answers, have everything figured out, know all the right words and what everybody should do. They do not have any room for mystery. It would seem that the “little ones” do not have any of these, especially all the answers. In their own way they simply trust.

When we know all the answers we put God in a box, and so keep ourselves safe. When we know all the right things about God we don’t feel the need to know God. We like our constructs. Among the earliest beginnings of our tradition has been the awareness that nothing we can say about God comes even close to the reality of God. Whatever we say about God tells more about what God is not. It is not always a good idea to take our descriptions of God literally. We cannot express in finite terms that which is infinite. This is not something we come to know through simple logic, but something that comes to us through our journey of prayer.

We begin our journey with questions, answers, labels. We seem to be building a house to hold all we feel we need to put order in our life, along with some semblance of safety and security. We accept from others the plans and layout of our house — what we have to believe and know so that our house will be safe and everything will be in order. All our labels, definitions, directions do this. At times we find ourselves questioning others whose plans for their houses have come from some other source. Are they as right as we are, etc? We place ourselves among the learned and the clever.

At some point in our life we might feel the urge to go out of our house because there seems to be more than what we have, and we begin to wonder. We come to sense we really are among the learned and clever, and this might not be all that good. In our wandering we come into contact with mystery, and begin to realize that it is into mystery that all the things we have previously accepted are pointing us. We begin to let go of them and start to move towards where they point. We might not be prepared for what we are beginning to encounter, and so we come to sense we might be among the little ones, and that this is an exciting place to be.

No one can make this journey for us. Only Jesus can show us what his yoke is. Only Jesus can bring us to the Father, and this is an intensely personal journey. Our being on our journey can be a threat to others who are still in their houses with all their stuff. We come to a new awareness and acceptance of what reality is in our life, and in this acceptance we encounter Jesus who quite often is not the Jesus we had in our house. He is intimately and powerfully involved in everything, and while we might not be able to “prove” it, it is something we are coming to know as a matter of our own experience. The Stories about Jesus begin to reflect what we are recognizing in our own life. He is no longer confined to ideas and titles.

We are burdened. We begin to sense that the ways so many of the Stories have been interpreted throughout history have been used to protect someone’s power and interests. We believe Jesus, besides being God, was a man just like us. He taught and told stories, while often throughout history, and even in our present day, the Stories are being used to tell people what and what not to think and talk about, and to restrict the rights of folks whose gender or lifestyle do not fit with an established interpretation. Deviation from the norm is again a dangerous walk.

We are burdened. Perhaps we might come to a point where we wonder what this Story is saying to us on our own journey in this time and place. Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us and learn from him, for he is meek and humble of heart. He said what he felt had to be said, he was not easy on those whom he saw as using their power to protect themselves by abusing others – a situation pretty much like what is going on today. He reached out and welcomed all who came to him, offering to show them the Father who loved them so immensely, without placing legal conditions,  gender or lifestyle requirements, or telling them what they had to think and what they were not allowed to talk about. All who came to him he treated with kindness, firmness, and respect, not threatening and punishing. This cost him his life.

We are burdened. Groups which began as signs of God’s love for all have developed themselves into mediators of God’s love, determining who and under what conditions can receive God’s love. The love that was Jesus has been turned into a fear that keeps people in line, with the threat of loss of means of support, as well as eternal salvation, as weapons. The stated value that “the Gospel is proposed, never imposed” does not seem to be reflected in the operational values of groups who use cajoling, threats, partial truths, and huge amounts of money in attempts to have their own tenets of morality imposed on all as codified civil law.

We are burdened. This is a serious question. We know we are not wise and learned, and we are not sure what it means to be little ones. What are we to do? Thus the importance of prayer in our life. We ask that he draw us to himself, without telling him how we will accept him. We ask to learn from him without telling him what we want him to teach us. We ask for his yoke without demanding to know what it is. We realize all things have been handed over to him by the Father, and that we are included in this. He is reaching out to each of us. Perhaps he would use each of us to reach out to others.

What are we to do? What am I to do . . .

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

Gospel Thoughts 26 June 2011 July 25 2011, Meanderings

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Brian Doyle  |  August 3, 2011 at 06:34

    Father: As usual a wonderful message! I have missed my weekly updates from you and finally decided I would come looking! I am currently deployed in Afghanistan and the Family is back in Germany. We went by Buedingen just before I departed and showed Emily the chapel where she was baptized. Hope all is well with you!

    Reply

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