Monday, October 30, 2006

Gut Check...

Today was the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. It is hard to believe, but there are only four Sundays left in this liturgical year. The Gospel reading at Mass will begin to speak of the final things when the Lord will return to take his own to himself.

Another year has past...are we closer to the Lord? Are we loving more deeply, more sacrificially? Are we more like Jesus today than a year ago?

I think it is time for a radical re-thinking of our Christianity. Everyday the world becomes more hostile to the Church, the Bride of Christ. Everyday we have to make more and more deliberate decisions to believe. But I can't help but think that for most of us, including myself, the most important thing to us is convenience and ease. We believe...as long as it doesn't cost us anything. We have this misguided notion that to be a disciple is to live a middle-class American existence with few if any bumps in the road to our financial, career, and family goals - that somehow our lives are supposed to tend ever upward to nicer houses and cars, better behaved children, and more friends.

We have completely forgot that the Christian life is a downward spiral to death. The death of our ambitions...death of our disordered desires...death to ease and convenience...death to riches...death to position...death to our very selves so that we might live in, for and with Christ Jesus. Resurrection only comes after death!

What will we equivocate on to save face? What will we deny to keep our selfish pleasures? What will we ignore so that things are stable, easy, and comfortable?

In these last days, it is time to muster our courage through grace and lift our eyes to Christ on the crucifix and see our future in this life...so that we can have his future in the next.

It just seems like there is not any need to get....crazy about this religious stuff. I mean you don't want to take it too far! People might think you are a freak!

We must remind ourselves of the Lord's words when we hear that voice of the Evil One in our head...
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and him with me...He who has an ear, let him hear that the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:17-22
In a presentation on October 19, 2005 Bishop Bruskewitz had these words that are worthy of much reflection (go here for the entire text):
What then should be the method by which we face the rises in the Church at this time? There must be, I think, a supreme effort to recapture our Catholic faith in all its orthodox splendor, and to take a stand for Christ as in the olden days. The Church has ever been counter-cultural. She has always and ever been that which stands against the age because she is the custodian of the Deposit of Faith, inherently and intrinsically conservative, as Pope Paul VI observed, because she to maintain the integrity of that faith without distortion or mutilation down through the centuries. It is important that we see the truths of our Catholic faith as liberating realities, and not as some kind of constraint, and that true freedom is linked with truth, and that truth trumps freedom and that unless one is in possession of the truth, one is not actually free. The words of Jesus are always appropriate to every age, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."...

In summary, a laity that will be the salt, the leaven and the light that will penetrate our world. Initially, there were only twelve apostles, largely shabby fishermen from Galilee, who were able, with the grace of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to bring the light of Christ to 2000 and more years of human history. Why should we think we are any less capable, provided that we are people of prayer, dedication and devotion, of doing something similar in our time and place. Let it be our prayer that God will give us here and now, the ability to dare to be different, and to stand for Christ whatever the cost, and to convince our world that our Catholic faith is so beautiful that all people would wish it to be true, and then to inform our world in the most certain terms that it is true. Thank you very much.
With that said, we have to remember why we were created. We were created for union with God so that we might share his very life! EVERYTHING that we ever hoped for, that is good, is found in Him: love, truth, beauty, goodness, life, joy, and security. Our hope is that we might, through the Resurrection of the dead, live with him for eternity. We have to keep our eye on the prize!

1 comment:

RebeccaW said...

Mike, Deb and Family - your newsletter was so timely. Praise be to Our Lord and God. He always knows what we need when we pour ourselves out to him in prayer. Last evening 9/5/06 at the Life Teen Mass, I was suddenly over come with a longing to see your faces. We miss you so and your absence has left a deep void. I praise my God that he has given us the gift of prayer to lift those we care for and love so deeply up to His throne. I was brought my knees and wept for His great mercy. He never disappoints and as I left Mass after sharing in a beautiful, holy and spirit filled evening, I smiled to know you were there with us as well, te community of believers and the saints. Bless you! Rebecca Winston