Wednesday, June 7, 2017

One of the things we must keep in mind as evangelists is our audience. When speaking to a man who only knows farming, one would not speak of quantum mechanics and electrical theory in order to convey the Gospel. (click the link to read more)

Lectionary: 355
TB 3:1-11A, 16-17A
PS 25:2-3, 4-5AB, 6 AND 7BC, 8-9
MK 12:18-27

One of the things we must keep in mind as an evangelist is our audience.   When speaking to a man who only knows farming, one would not speak of quantum mechanics and electrical theory in order to convey the Gospel.  Nor would one speak to a physicist who had never even been in a garden about the need for planting crops in a certain order, rotating fields, or the various challenges of the harvest.   Speaking to children we would not use words like transubstantiation or metaphysics, and speaking to theologians we would probably avoid bedtime stories and simplified versions of parables.  We meet people where they are and speak of things they understand.  That’s the genius of the Gospel and Jesus own ministry.   Each of His parables and teachings is spoken to a specific community at a specific time with the very words they needed to hear.

Still though God in His infinite wisdom chose a topic for the redemption of man that we all have in common.  Not all of us are scientists, nor are all of us, seamstresses or farmers.   The theory of music may be clear to some but confusing to others.   There is one thing we all have in common though.    One thing that all mankind has experienced regardless of wealth, station, or aptitude: suffering.   The Cross itself is something that everyone who has lived a human life on this planet has in some way experienced.    As we see today, Tobit and Sarah who are miles apart on the planet both are suffering a common thing, albeit in different ways.   Tobit has lost his job, his ability to support his family, and is being shamed by those who know him.   Sarah has been barren and her own handmaids are teasing her relentless and reminding her of that shame.   Just as Jesus on the cross experienced the taunting and ignominy of those passing by who ridiculed Him as the God of the Universe allowed Himself to be powerless in the hands of those He created and loved.

In the Gospel, we see some of that teasing and the habit of man to think He is smarter than the other.   The irony of the Sadducees coming to Jesus in their smugness and trying to trap Him by using human logic to try and describe the great Mystery of eternity should not escape us.   Face to face with life itself, they ask questions, not about God and relationship, but try to trip Jesus up with a question to harkens back to Sarah’s own ordeal.  How humbling it must be to stand before God at the judgment and realize it was He they were trying to ensnare.  Yet, don’t we do the same daily?  Every time we try to figure out how far we can go without being in sin.  When we flirt with that which we know will make us fall into our old habits.   “I’ll just watch one video.”  “I won’t actually smoke, I’ll just hang out with those who do and smell it.”   “I’m only going to have one drink at the bar, I can handle that much.”  “What point of Mass do I have to be there for for it to count?”  Every time we set the bar lower than perfection we too are like the Sadducees looking for a way to inveigle the Lord of all Creation into doing things our way.   When, if we would just Humble ourselves, He too would send angels to minister to us in our need just as He provided for Tobit and Sarah.

His servant and yours,

Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14