Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rock Bottom.

Rock bottom.   That place that we never think we will hit.   It seems so far away with it's infinite depth in our minds.   Yet, at some point most of us find it.   It is that point where what we thought we would never even think about has become something tangible, something we desire.  For some it's with alcohol.  Some with pornography.   Yet others it comes when a chain of bad decisions has woven a web of poverty and sin.   This is where the son had found himself.   In a foreign land, broke and desolate.   So desperate for food that he was willing to eat the pods the pigs were feeding on.  If you've ever seen a pig in a sty eating, you know that even if the food had been pristine when it was placed in, it is no longer so.   It is covered with mud, feces, and sometimes even blood from the pigs themselves fighting over the food.

That's where he found himself.  In this parable the pigs represent the ultimate in sin.   The unclean.  The untouchable.   No one would even go near them if possible but here the young man is tending them!   Caring for them and cleaning their stalls.   He has taken all the gifts the father gave him and simply cast them away wantonly without care.  The sin in his life has become so great that he is a slave to it... he can't even find food without the sin involved.   To eat the pigs food... was to become one of them.   He is no longer and individual, but a slave to the sin.  He is about to become the sin.   The point in addiction when one has to choose to own the addiction or let the addiction own them.

He then remembers his father's house.   It's comfortable there. Warm there.  Clean there.   Even the lowest in it are treated with good food and kindness.   He wants to go back and be a slave there.   His mind tries to convince him he isn't worthy.. and guess what?  He's not.  Neither are we.   Yet, the moment he turns to go to his fathers house.. his father sees him and runs out to him.   He doesn't wait till the boy gets cleaned up.  He doesn't wait till the filth he has been working in is washed away.   He runs out to him and does it for him.  He has him dressed in fine robes and gives him the signet, the symbol of family.   That's how God sees us, Amen?   He runs out to us in the Sacraments and clothes us in Christ Jesus.   Satan will try to convince us that we are too unclean.   I've heard it said that Satan tries to convince us that a sin is nothing of consequence before we commit it, but after we commit it he will try to convince us that it is unforgivable.

So if you are there, at rock bottom.. or even headed in that direction... now is an acceptable time, today.    Don't wait till tomorrow... or till the bottom of your fall hits you in the face.   Turn to God.  Run to him.   Know that He will make you worthy.  You have to let Him though.   Alone we can do nothing, but with God at our side, whom shall we fear?   Run to the sacraments.   Get to confession where God will cast your sins away to the depths of the ocean.  Receive Christ in the Eucharist where God's compassion will trample your sins underfoot... That's what Lent is about for all of us.  To look at our lives and ask ourselves where am I headed?  What decisions have I made?   Am I going down that road that takes me to another land?  Where I will be hungry and thirsty for God's love?   Or are my feet on solid ground?  

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."

A reflection on the readings for Saturday of the second week of Lent: March 18, 2017