Monday, July 25, 2016

Perfectly Imperfect

People do change.   Their base personality and faculties define who they are, not their behavior.  Behavior is something we do, not who we are.  The man I was in my twenties is not the man I am now, nor am I the man I hope to be ten  years from now.   What is important is not who we were, but who are now and who we are becoming.   That's what being a disciple is about.  Changing from the fallen person we have become into the person we were created as and to be, with Christ giving us the premier example of how to do that.

The twelve themselves were imperfect men.  They argued.  They fell short at times in understanding what Jesus was saying.   They had petty rivalries and jealousies.   At the foot of the cross we don't see those who jump up to say they would die with Him, save for John.  Impetuous Peter denied Him three times and went on to be the first of all the Apostles.  The thing is they were all changed, they all experienced a radical about face in their lives by encountering Christ.  All but John were martyred for their faith.  John was tortured as well and they tried to kill him, but when they failed they exiled him to a remote island to lessen his influence.  All were imperfect, but all were created for a purpose.

You see their character never changed.  You and I were created to be the person that we are.  God gave us a personality, intellectual abilities, a mind to think to with, a heart to feel with, and a memory to help us learn.  All of this he handed us with free will.  God does not ask you to become a mirror image of someone else, but rather to live the walk of Christ as you are able, in the way you are able to do it.  That doesn't mean we all don't do the same action.. but that we do it to the best of our ability as who we are.  For some that means being in the choir.  For others a Lector.   For still others helping with kids in the back.  For one a mother or father, for another a single lay man or woman on a missionary journey.   For some it means going across the world to experience new thrills... and for another staying right where they were born for their entire lives to serve those in that community.   God has a purpose for each and every one of us, and designed us unique with that purpose in mind.

We like James, John and Peter are quick when asked to drink of that cup to resound with an emphatic "Yes Lord!"   Do we truly count the cost of that? When your cup is drained to the dregs and all that is left is one drop of drink along with the dust and grime of daily life in some muddled mess that a seer might try to read for a glimpse of the future, are you ready to give that away?  Society teaches us to be selfish and to hold back that last part for ourselves... and while it's important to get away in prayer and to live our primary vocations as good parents, family, priests and servants; we are asked again by Christ are you ready to pour your life out like a libation?   To pour out every drop until you give your very life for another?  Not just the ones who are dear to you.. but the ones who challenge you?   The stranger?  The angry man at the office that gets on your nerves?  The one who breaths like Darth Vader while you're trying to listen to someone speak?  To the woman who talks bad about you?   To the widow? The orphan?   The homeless man on the street who smells of alcohol?   The refugee whose faith has been portrayed as one of a killer?  The guy who chews potato chips so loudly it sounds as if fire crackers are going off in your skull? Will you pour it out to them?   Christ did on the cross.  That is what He is asking you right now, when he says "Can you drink the cup that I shall drink?"

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease." 

A reflection the daily Mass readings for the Feast of Saint James: July 25th, 2016.   Corinthians 4:7-15; Psalm 126; The Holy Gospel According to Matthew 20:20-28