Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Keep the Holy Holy to be holy.


My wife and I were just discussing this amazing sentence in the first reading for tomorrow.  "For those who keep the holy precepts hallowed shall be found holy[..]"  I just love the way that reads in my mind.  If you keep the holy.. holy... you shall be holy.  That's such an easy reminder of how important it is to hold what God has given us as the center of our day.  Too often we let other things get in our way and take the place that he rightly deserves.  Only when we put him up first, following in holy obedience the revealed truth, can we even hope to be holy. 

We see that a little in the parable in the Gospel reading.  Jesus has just healed ten men of the dreaded disease, leprosy.   Only one of them returned to Him, the source of His healing, and praised and glorified Him.  All of them received the grace.   All of them came to him in their need.  Only one of them realized the beauty and grace of being healed.  Only one came to conversion.

How often we are like this in our own lives?  Tomorrow is Veterans day.  As we remember those who have served us, fighting to keep us free, we should also ask ourselves what lesson is to be learned by this parable in light of what is going on in our lives.  Have you ever noticed that during a war the church is full?  Just after 9-11 people flocked into the sanctuary to ask for prayers, to seek answers, to find comfort.  All too often we don't even remember the veterans who fought for us, giving up their lives, their comforts, even coming back to a hostile, unwelcoming country and being mistreated for decades.  We too can be like the lepers.   We pray when we need.  Then when things are going smooth we forget to. We only seem to come to God when suffering rears it's ugly head, and then when things start going smooth again we go on our way happy and never think to stop back and thank Him.

Scripture tells us in this parable that Jesus said to the one who returned, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."   This one foreigner returned to Jesus, while the others did not.  He kept the holy hallowed... He returned to Jesus because he realized the need to be near the true Kingdom of God.. that is Christ himself.  This is what we should strive for.  Faith.  True faith.  Tomorrow is also the Memorial for Saint Martin of Tours.  Very apropos on Veteran's day.  Saint Martin knew what it was like to be a soldier.   Saint Martin spent several years in the Roman Army.  He was converted at an early age, and then spent time in the Army.  Afterwards he returned to the Church and served as a Priest and Bishop.  Martin stood up for his faith.  So much so that he was thrown in prison, publicly scourged, out cast... he experienced conversion. He didn't just come to Christ when he needed something... he didn't turn away when things got better... he stayed with Him all the time.  That's what we can learn from this... Our faith is not just for Sunday.  It is not something we only live in the Sanctuary of the Church, and then abandon it when we go back to our environment.

No.  Our faith is something we live every moment of every day.  "[..]one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him."  I want to do that.  I want to glorify God in a loud voice.  Not a quiet, hidden one.  I want to fall at the feet of Jesus giving him thanks.  Let us pray today for those who have served.  Let us thank them for our freedom, and for their courage. Let us also ask Saint Martin to pray for us, that we too might have the courage to face whatever challenges we must face with the same courage and dedication that he did.  Then let us fall to our knees in prayer and thanksgiving to Christ, for all he has done for us. 

His servant and yours,
In Christ,
Brian