Monday, July 18, 2016

Oh Deer......

Recently on a silent retreat we were encouraged to meditate on thankfulness as we sat on this beautiful outlook, overlooking the great Mississippi river.   The previous afternoon during our one hour of fellowship I was telling my friends about the frog I had been meditating on the morning before.   They told me about humming birds, eagles, deer, rabbits, and butterflies.   How wonderful the diversity of life in this place! As I sat there watching the golden rays of the sun crest the morning sky, a butterfly passed by.   A red tailed hawk flew overhead and a rabbit scampered on the trail below.   The breeze was picking up and I was in awe of the beauty of the moment.  Then I thought, this moment would be perfect if a deer would just walk out of the forest right now.

How frustrating that must be for our Heavenly Father.   To be in a relationship with a stiff necked people who are never happy with what He offers them.  Here I was meditating on being thankful for the moment and even in that moment had notes for God on how to make it better, instead of just being content and happy with the beauty and grace I was already receiving.  There are times when I am just in an ill mood.  My wife tells me when I am in that mood she can do nothing right, nothing seems to calm me down.   How horrible that must be for her!  To not be the cause of my angst and yet be the one to receive the annoyances and ire. God gets even worse from us.

In the Gospel for today Jesus has brought to the people the glorious and wonderous news that God is offering forgiveness to all people!   Eternal life!  He offers it with a simple message, love God and your neighbor.  It's not a new message, but the same message God gave to Moses in the desert.   Simply live what you already know to be true and you can live forever in Heaven with God!  "You know what would make this message even better Jesus?   If you were to do a miracle here for us to prove it."  It was their deer.   Instead of realizing the beauty of what was right before them, God himself incarnated in the person of Christ, they wanted more.

He comes to us every day in the Sacraments offering that same salvation and He challenges us to live the message we already know to be true in our hearts.  As Moses said last week in the readings, It is not in some far off land or in the skies that someone must go and get it for us, it's right here in our hearts and on our lips.   Love.  Saint Camillus De Lellis, our Saint for the today, reminds us how to live that out.   By greeting Christ in His most distressing of disguises.   That whatever we do to the least of these, the poor, the sick, the widow, the orphan, the angry young man with a gun, the police officer shot in the line of duty, the family left behind... whatever we do for these, we do for Christ.   Are you ready to encounter Christ?   In the face of the sick and dying?   The old and the young?  The refugee?  The Muslim?  The Jew?  The Atheist?  We need to stop asking God to give us a sign to push us out into the world to do good, and just do good.    He's already given you a sign that goes beyond anything else you could ask for... He rose from the dead that you too might have eternal life.   Now go spread the good news!

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease." 

A Reflection on the readings for Monday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time: July 18, 2016.  Micah 6:1-4, 6-8; Psalm 50; A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew 12:38-42