Sunday, July 3, 2016

Can you do the Robot?

A reflection on the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary time, June 03, 2016.
Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20
Galatians 6:14-18
The Holy Gospel According to Saint Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Society wants to blur the lines between male and female, man and woman, father and mother, man and wife. They want us to be convinced that in order to be equals, we must do things in the exact same way.  As a dad I know that there is something more amazing about a mother's love, something that is sought actively by the children because of it's qualities, because of it's comfort.   Yes, there are differences and I'm not painting all men and women with the same brush.. but I do find that the girls want their mommy when they need comfort and their dad when they need something done.  Mom seems to be kinder, gentler, and more understanding.  Dad is often brash and abrasive, but will defend them with his dying breath.  The image we have in scripture today is of a mother, Jerusalem, Zion the dwelling of the Lord.

Oh that you would be comforted by a mother, fed by her, protected by her and guided by her.  Christ gave us the Church to do just that.  He didn't give us a book, for that matter He didn't write a single word with his own incarnate hand.   Rather He gave us apostles, He gave us the Gospel, which the Church then gave to us in book form.  The Church is our mother, our guide.   She is there not to create tension or punish us, but rather to guide us to that joy and comfort that God promises.  That comfort ironically comes from being disciplined.  True freedom comes from being able to make a choice with your intellect even when your senses and desires try to pull you in the wrong direction.  The Church gives us guidelines on what is good for us, what is going to make us "flourish like the grass." 

Why do we do that?  Not to earn the ability to do miracles, or to revel in the fact that demons tremble at the name of Christ, not even for being a healer or a speaker... or any sort of gift.   Those are secondary to the greatest miracle of all, the miracle of salvation.   That's right, Jesus' mission was not primarily to be a healer.. but to remind us that "in the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those dwelling in the valley of darkness and death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace."  Forgiveness of sins, reconciliation to God... restoration of a broken relationship.  That is the greatest miracle that Christ offers us.  He tells us to rejoice because our names are written in Heaven!  How beautiful a thought, oh how happy a day! 

He sends us out like the disciples.  Into the world to be witnesses to this forgiveness.  Not to be grumbling or complaining about that which we have received or have not, but to accept all things with humility and graciousness.  To pass blessings on those who you meet, wishing them peace!  Yesterday I was thinking about this during Adoration.   As I often do I prayed "God get rid of all that is me, and replace it with you."   I've always thought that a good prayer.  God seemed to say to me, "That is not what I am asking of you."   He doesn't want me to become a mirror image of Him, an automaton who simply does everything the way He does, when He wants, exactly as a robot.   If He wanted that, He'd have made that!   Rather, He wants me to be ONE with Him, as He and the Father are one.   I was bowled over.   He wants me to go out into the world as me, spreading the message He has given me, with the words that my faculties allow me to use.  

That's right, when He sent 72 out, there were 72 individuals.. all working together as one unit to provide one message.   Each one though was an individual, unique, loved by God... created with the personalities and temperaments that God desired them to have.   "He loves me for me!"   Jesus told me to stop using Him as a scapegoat and asking Him to simply take away my free will and instead have some discipline, to work to use the brain, soul and spirit He gave me to become the man I am made to be.   That doesn't mean that all Catholics will ever look the same, or sound the same.. or act the same... but we will have the same message, given with our own unique ability to say it, live it, and pray it.  Are you ready for that?  It's time to stop praying for a supernatural conversion that takes away those things we struggle with, and instead receive the grace that He has been pouring out on us to allow us to bolster our own discipline to grow closer to Him and further away from Sin.  

His servant and yours, 

"He must increase, I must decrease."