Arise!

FAITH-RISE-350-1The readings today focus on victory over death. We are familiar with them both. In 1 Kings, Elijah returns the widow’s son to life. Similarly in Luke, Jesus stops a funeral procession, and returns to life a son to his widowed mother.

In a real sense two lives are saved, for as widows, both women were dependent upon their sons, the sons who would take care of them as soon as they were of an age.

But are these lessons about victory over death in a physical sense?

Surely we know that both of these sons would eventually die, their lives were being lengthened, they were not going to be immortal. So what are we to learn?

We learn of course that God has power that transcends all our physical laws. To us and our scientific understanding, all things that live eventually die. We know of no way to change that. It appears to be the way of life. Yet we know that our Creator must and does control even life itself. And if God does this, then, there must be something beyond our mere lives. If there was nothing else there would be no point in prolonging this life we each live, for in the end is mere dust.

Indeed when we look at the companion reading in Ephesians, it becomes clear. Paul faces and endures a different kind of death–the death of his old way of life. Born as a Pharisee, Paul rose through the ranks to be an exemplary Pharisee, following the traditions of his family and Judaism. He, no doubt, proudly persecuted these upstart Jews lead by Jesus.

Yet, all fell away from him in a moment of revelation. We know the story well, and Paul tells us himself that he was not “taught” this new way of being. He, seemingly instantly, sees. He sees that his entire life has been devoted to the wrong way of being, and he sees the right path. From that moment forward, he becomes an apostle to the Gospel. So sure is he of his new truth, that he feels no necessity to check in with those who had lived, eaten, slept, and walked for three years with Jesus. He needed no check. He literally had been reborn, raised from his own death.

Some in our times refer to the “coming to Christ” as being “reborn”. Indeed baptism is a death to sin and rebirth. But of course we continue to sin, for we are human. And wise followers of Jesus know that this death and rebirth are continuous events in our lives, hopefully occurring again and again as we mature in our discipleship.

The stories of the widows and the return of their sons to life bring us joy, not in the miracles described, but in the hope that we retain from pondering them. God has ultimate power over the very act of death, how much more over our foibles and shortcomings? God can and does call us patiently and with love to renew and reclaim our godliness in Christ.

God is always calling us to arise.

Do we hear?

Do we answer?

Amen.

I remember my childhood when the sunrise,
like my play-fellow, would burst in to my bedside
with its daily surprise of morning;
when the faith in the marvelous bloomed
like fresh flowers in my heart every day,
looking into the face of the world in simple gladness;
when insects, birds and beasts, the common weeds,
grass and the clouds had their fullest value of wonder;
when the patter of rain at night brought dreams
from the fairyland, and mother’s voice in the evening
gave meaning to the stars.

And then I think of death,
and the rise of the curtain
and the new morning
and my life awakened in its fresh surprise of love.**

From Rabindranath Tagore, Crossing

 

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Choice, It’s Always About Choice

 

 

One of the lesser known facts of the history of the Hebrew Scriptures is that it took a very long time to divorce the Israelites from other gods to the one God, Yahweh. As they moved and lived among others of different faiths, they too usually found themselves “hedging” their bets with monuments and oblations to the local deities.

So in Joshua, poised at the entrance to the Promised Land, we find the people being asked to choose, something they will be asked again and again in the coming generations. Joshua makes a bold statement, one that all of us know well:

As for me and my household, we shall serve the LORD.

This question comes back again at the end of the bread discourse when Jesus, aware that many of his followers are most uncomfortable with his admonition to eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. He sees many of then shaking their heads in disbelief and returning to home and life as they had known it before they met him. What he announced was just too much for them to accept.

I am told that it was even more harsh than we may realize. We translate the word esthio as “eat”. But I am told a more literal translation of the Greek is “gnaw”. Jesus actually suggests that if we are true disciples, we must work hard at ingesting his teachings and understanding them and him.

Clearly a good many of his followers cannot do this, and they slip away to their old way of life.

In an odd way, one surely not meant by those in the Church who determined the scriptural arrangement, Paul in Ephesians can be seen as an example of this difficulty.

Often used as a means of assuring men that they are in fact the “heads” of their homes and that women have no place in the Church, Ephesians 5:21-32 claims that “women should be subordinate to their husbands.” Men in return are to “love their wives as their own flesh.” Notice how the one requires actual physical response. To be subordinate is not a thing you do in you mind, but a thing you do by ACTING. How much easier for the man who must only “in his heart” love his wife.

The point is, Paul (or the one writing as Paul) means for there to be a certain equality but he himself misses that the lot of the woman is by far the harder and the man may proclaim his job complete by mouthing the words. It is sort of like the beloved claim of right wing religious that they “hate the sin but love the sinner.” Most of the “sinners” would argue that little if any love is shown them at all.

But Jesus recognizes that simple formulaic responses are not true discipleship. Dainty eating is not requested. Gnawing is.

And the choice is real. Choose life or choose nothing.

The nothing can be dressed up in finery. It can be mansions or expense accounts, fancy offices and titles. But in the end, these choices provide no sustenance that gives life. They only cover up the dying that is going on inside. Only Christ provides the true food that not only sustains us but brings us everlasting life.

That is why, at the end in Jn 6:68, Peter rather plaintively replies: “Master, to whom shall we go?”

Indeed Peter speaks for us all. We recognize the difficulty of this discipleship. We know it is not easy. We know there are much easier roads to transverse and ones that are undoubtedly filled with more pleasures, but only one gives us the sustenance we need for eternity. Only one.

Which one will you choose?

Amen.

 

 

Taste and See the Goodness!

 

 

Sophia, or Lady Wisdom tells us:

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.” Prv 9: 1-6

Lady Folly tells us:

The woman of folly is boisterous,
She is naive and knows nothing.

She sits at the doorway of her house,
On a seat by the high places of the city,

Calling to those who pass by,
Who are making their paths straight:

“Whoever is naive, let him turn in here,”
And to him who lacks understanding she says,

“Stolen water is sweet;
And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

But he does not know that the dead are there,
That her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Prv 9: 13-18

We are called to wisdom, signified by the “perfect” table set by Lady Wisdom, and not the table of Lady Folly, who tells us, “no matter, eat, drink, and be merry–take what you need, cheat, lie, it is all toward the goal of satisfying only you.”

Yet, as always the question remains, how do we discern the wise and forsake that which is evil and wrong? On some things of course, it is quite easy–we know not to cheat or murder. We know not to steal, but what exactly constitutes cheating?

Paul offers us his advice:

Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. Eph 5: 15-20

Note that he tells us to “try” to understand the will of God. Paul reminds us that it is not always easy. He suggests that immersing ourselves in scripture and prayer, and praying continually are useful in opening ourselves to the Spirit which we know will guide us aright.

Lastly in the Gospel of John, Jesus gives us the most important help: the Eucharist. Now admittedly, not all of the Christian community agree that the bread and wine that we receive each mass is indeed the real body and blood of our Lord, changed in some mysterious way from their original elements.

We as Catholics do believe this, and we take this offering as God joining us in a special way that we can count on to bring us to God’s will for us.

What does that mean?

Often, as a dissenting Catholic, I find that those who profess a strict adherence to church teaching, tell me that my way is “easy”. It’s easy to just love everyone they claim. It’s hard, so they say, to cut across what is popular and secularly permissible. That is how they discern “it is the right thing.”

But is it hard?

I really don’t think so.

If we take the Bible as a whole, we see a steady progression, it seems to me, in understanding that God’s love extends to all his children. Those that thought they had his exclusive attention are often angry and shocked, and yes, unwilling to accept that “others” also find His favor.

While it may seem “hard” to speak against the poor’s “drain” on the budget, or why gays should be denied marriage and the full sacramental life in the church, or why women should be regulated in their health care by more “knowing” men, is it really hard to take these positions? Or is it really quite easy?

Easy in the sense that it always makes us feel better when we can point our finger at someone, anyone, and say they are not as good. They don’t live “right” in one fashion or another. They are different, not holy and “saved” because they are not willing to forgo this or that perceived sin. But what is hard about not getting an abortion if you are post menopausal? What is hard about not engaging in homosexual behavior if you are not homosexual? What is hard about not marrying a divorced person if you are happily married to your first spouse? What is hard about working hard and paying your taxes if you are blessed with a good-paying job.

What is hard about being “holier than thou” toward someone else? It’s really easy isn’t it? It is human nature to not want to feel oneself to be the most disadvantaged, the worst off. We quickly look for someone to point to who is worse off, or simply worse  as we define things.

In discerning that is God’s will for us, it seems to me that we are better off doing that which doesn’t divide people into groups of “like me” and “not like me.” For in the end, we are all God’s chosen. We are not God. Our job is be gracious, kind, loving, charitable, open-hearted, strong in spirit, helpful, compassionate. If God wishes to judge anyone as unworthy, I’m sure he doesn’t need our help.

Lift up your Hearts to the Lord!

Amen.

 

What Is It?

 

 

I find it amusing that the writers of Hebrew Scriptures so often painted prophets as unwilling and protesting men. Again and again we are confronted with those called to serve God who are quick to demur for any number of reasons. “Choose someone else, God,” they seem to proclaim.

In today’s first reading, Elijah is no different. In earlier readings, Elijah has proven that Baal is no God but that his God is in fact the only true God. He has set about killing off  the Baal priests and Jezebel is after his head. He runs far away and collapses under a  broom tree, a tree that offers little shade. He is exhausted and falls asleep. He longs for death.

Instead, an angel appears and brings nourishment. Fed with the cake and water, he is able to resume his journey to Horeb.

We are of course expected to draw the parallel with the Hebrews, led by Moses, who were fed in the desert. If you recall, God sent manna to the Israelites which they could gather by day which gave them sufficient nourishment to sustain them until the morrow. Since they had no idea what the “food” was, they called it manna, or “what is it?”

Similarly of course, Elijah is also fed, though apparently the fare if familiar to him.

Not until Jesus discourse on bread in Jn 6: 41-51, do we learn what these food references are. They are, as Jesus tells us, God himself. “I am the bread of life!” he proclaims. What is it, is God.

We learn that God sustains us on our journeys, and without his sustaining power, mere food would never be enough. In other words, we are never enough. Our strengths and perseverance is admirable, but insufficient. It is God, through his great love for us, that allows us to carry on when we are too tired physically and emotionally to bear the burden any longer.

Some are wont to say that God burdens us with more than we can handle. But I think this is incorrect. God does not burden his children. We burden ourselves by our poor decisions, or we are burdened by the simple vagaries of life, the happenstance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. God does not take over and choose for us, but when we find ourselves burdened, he graciously stands by ready and willing to offer us that which we cannot offer ourselves–the beyond human strength to continue.

We, or most of us, have had that experience at least one in our lives. We look back astonished that we were able to “get through it”. We recognize that God’s grace sustained us when nothing else could have.

Elijah, like us, doesn’t feel up to the task. We complain and whine. We bargain and resist. But when we offer ourselves to God’s hands, we find, that we can bear the circumstances we find ourselves in, and we can do the job we are being asked to do.

Those of us who believe that God, in some mysterious way, becomes the bread the wine for us, find strength in the Eucharist, not only in times of great stress, but in our daily normal lives. It is like a muscle that is exercised and grows in strength and endurance. With regular reflection upon the importance of this gift, we become more able handle the small issues of life, and thus are prepared when faced with serious problems.

Such is God’s love for us. As Paul says, let us be imitators of God–let us love this greatly all those we meet.

Amen.

 

Vanity of Vanities

 

 

Paul spoke:

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ,
assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus,
that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires,
and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self,
created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Eph 4: 17, 20-24)

He tells us that we must not continue to live in the “futility” of our minds. When we think of our minds, we think of our intellect. Futility means, in the Greek, Mataiotes or vanity, which alludes to emptiness or uselessness.

What does he mean by this?

Gentiles, the unbelievers, live by their minds. They have no purpose beyond what ever they define as success in the world about them. They may seek power, money, professional success, public fame, or any number of things that seem to the intellectual thought process worthy ends.

But are they? Can you take any of them to the grave? Will they do you any good if you do?

Of course not. Such goals are fleeting, passing with our mortal bodies. They are empty goals.

Paul attempts to explain to these new believers that they have become different by their baptism. They are no longer seekers of transient things such as money or fame. They now seek permanent goals–loving God and the promises of heaven. They have purpose finally. Real purpose.

This is not to say that intellectual pursuits are bad, as some would claim. In fact many on the far right would dismiss the intellectual , considering it dangerous and unbiblical,  based on a simplistic reading of this passage. But Paul is not saying that at all.

What he is saying is that God and Godly pursuits are beyond the logical results of our thinking. We cannot welcome the spirit of God simply by logical analysis. It requires a leap of faith–something beyond 1 + 1 = 2. Basing our entire life on the logic of intellectual reasoning will take us far, but never far enough–for that we need to put on a new self, and be renewed in the spirit of our mind.

The Spirit offers us a new way of examining the world, a new way of judging if you will. We no longer rely on  slide rules and Socratic methods as our sole means of determining our reality. The Spirit offers us a new plane of existence, a new way of examination, to over-lay upon our three-dimensional world.

Now we do not conclude that something is either good or bad, right or wrong, beneficial or harmful based on a “me” approach. That is what the pagans do. No, we see the totality of the world as all of creation, and that changes the equation dramatically.

Now some may say that I am only talking about a sense of morality, and those who consider themselves “atheists” also can and do have great moral standards that include considering the entire world in their calculations of good and evil. I would agree, such people often do exhibit such considerations, and there are many an atheist who is a good deal more moral that a good many self-defined believers in God.

But of course, just because one is unaware on the intellectual plane of the God who graciously offers guidance, doesn’t mean that they don’t open themselves to that gracious assistance, simply by calling it something else. Now I admit that is an argument that is circular in nature and surely won’t satisfy the average thinking atheist. All I’m saying is that atheists can be perfectly moral while at the same time having no way of knowing why they are. I choose to think that God works in those who profess no faith, yet who open themselves to divine instruction, unknowing as it may be.

Paul concludes by telling us that this new self is created in God’s way, in righteousness and in holy truth. We, these new creations are bound to seek and speak truth, for all truth is holy. All truth is righteous, all truth is God’s way.

Pray for truth in the renewal of the spirit of your mind.

Amen

 

 

 

Are You Being Fed?

Almost all are familiar with the Gospel story from John of Jesus feeding the five thousand. It is one that even non-believers know.

Most of the time, the we get into discussions about whether this “actually” happened or whether the story serves as metaphor for a deeper “feeding.” The metaphor is indeed a powerful teaching.

Imagine the time. You are going about your daily business when word is spread throughout the village that that powerful speaker, the one some call prophet, has been spotted nearby. You and perhaps members of your family decide to go and see for yourselves if what they say about him is at all true.

You see a crowd gathering and as you forward, you spot this rather ordinary looking man who is speaking. You begin to listen, and soon you have lost track of all time as his words stir something deep within you.

As he moves, so do you. You are not thinking of the fact that you have missed a meal, you simply find this man compelling and want to hear more.

This story is not one of simple-minded folk who are so incompetent they forgot to pack a lunch for their excursion to “see the healer”. They are folks who merely decided to take a few moments to go and “take a look” and got hooked by man who turned out to be far more than they could imagine. It is not about food. It is about ideas.

There is a scene in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, where the beaten down and literally emotionally destroyed Lithuanian, Jurgis goes into a political meeting to get warm from the winter cold. He suddenly is so mesmerized by the speaker who seems to understand his entire life history that he forgets everything else but the need to learn more. Once having given up all hope in life, he finds his purpose once more. He finds the answers he needs to make life worth living again.

We are all like Jurgis in some degree. Since the first human being raised her eyes to the heavens at the mouth of some cave and looked upon the stars and wondered, “who am I, where did I come from, and how did this all come to be?” we have asked the same basic questions. We long to understand, we long for meaning. We long to have a reason to go on in a world that seems arbitrarily mean and cruel all too often. Bad things happen to good people and that is a fact.

Those who forgot their own hunger in pursuit of this man who offered them answers, were only doing what humans have done throughout the ages.

We don’t always search in the same place however. Some search in science and hope that its answers will give meaning to life. But scientists, I think, in the end confess that human understanding can only proceed so far back. Ultimate answers may never be knowable. Some find meaning in creating their own universe of family and possessions. Others find meaning in experiencing as much of life as they can squeeze into a normal lifetime. Some wish to create something that will stand as their legacy, either material or in service.

We are creatures who crave meaning. Tell us that life is nothing more than a series of accidents and arbitrary events and we go away sorely disappointed. The reason is obvious. Life is often not easy. It is sometimes difficult, and sometimes mean. If there is no reason for it all, then the question becomes, why do we bother at all?

Because this question is so important to us, we are easily victimized by those whose purpose is to gain something from us. Power and money are strong incentives to deceive. We are all too susceptible to the grifter and  the false prophet.

Jesus, with his simple message, was believed. Perhaps it was the simplicity, the honesty with which it was orated. Perhaps it was as Paul points out in his letter to the Ephesians, because Jesus and his followers lived as they preached. They were different. They lived simply, consorted with common people, did not ask for “contributions” to assist the “ongoing mission.”

It is said, you will know them by their fruits. In other words, no one need proclaim their allegiance to Jesus. It will be obvious by the way one lives and interacts with the world.  Those who have been given meaning will give meaning. Those would have indeed been fed, will feed.

Have you been fed?

Amen.

Challenges

Today’s initial reading is from Amos (7:12-15). It seems of little importance at first, but appearances are often deceiving. In fact, when read in conjunction with the gospel reading in Mark, it raises some extraordinary questions for us.

Amos is a shepherd, and we know from history that shepherds in this time and place were lowly and somewhat held at arm’s length by the surrounding communities. They lived their lives in isolation in the hills and were rough men. You can but imagine that he had little in the way of education or social grace.

Yet we learn that God has plans for Amos. At this time, the Hebrews have split into two countries, Judah to the South and Israel to the North. Judah encompasses Jerusalem, while the religious center of Israel is Bethel.

Bethel and it’s priests under the leadership of Jeraboam, have set up a new worship practice, one not authorized by Yahweh. It is here that Amos is sent from his home in Judah to warn Israel that she is straying from the right path.

As you might assume, this Amos is met with no little anger and dismissal:The high priest Amaziah shouts:

“Go away seer, taken yourself off to Judah, earn your living there, and there you can prophesy!”

One wonders if similar thoughts coursed through the minds of the Twelve when we learn that Jesus, after being rejected in his own home town, sends off his followers to preach the “good news”.

Will they be received in similar fashion? After all, Jesus instructs them to “take nothing” not even a second tunic. They are to beg housing among strangers in these towns, and to go meekly from those that dismiss them and have no interest in their message. Did they think they were going to face the same derision and hostility that faced Amos on his mission to Israel?

Paul tells us that God chose us in him, “before the foundation of the world.”

Yet we all, at one point or other feel ill-equipped to answer the call that God makes to us.

We feel that we are not educated enough, not old enough, too old, not healthy enough, not wealthy enough to sustain the difficulties, too busy, needed by others, not worthy, and on and on. We, like so many of the great prophets of history, have excuses upon excuses. Moses stuttered, or had difficulty speaking.

Surely we can all agree that we feel unworthy of God’s choosing us to speak truth. Who are we after all? Mere mortal humans. None of us, for the most part, would feel experienced enough, wise enough, versed enough, in scripture and theology to have the audacity to go out and attempt to convert others.

And indeed all those things are true. We are not worthy. Yet we miss the most important aspect.

It is not ourselves that speak. We are not constructing some message we have thought of.

We are not alone. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit which, if we pay close attention, will lead us straight.

This is the important point that Jesus was trying to make when he sent out the Twelve with virtually nothing to fall back upon. They were to depend solely on God. They were to learn that they needed nothing further.

Of course, this has led a good many well-meaning folks to do similar things in our modern world. They have taken to the streets and stood on corners preaching to largely deaf ears. We do well to consider there are few fields to glean wheat from in the streets of New York City!

But in any case, we are told that we each have a vocation, one blessed by God, if we accept the call. And we can rest assured that when we rightly discern that call, the Holy Spirit will assist us in fulfilling our calling. That is not to say that times will always be rosy and easy, they most certainly will not, but we can know that our continued attention to the mission will prove bountiful in the end.

The Twelve were able to do great things on their trek of preaching.

They believed.

Do you?

Amen.

Amos 7: 12-15
Eph 1: 3-14
Mk 6: 7-13

Can You See?

Today’s Gospel reading is chapter 9 of John: the cure of the man born blind. This, so typical of John is a meaty story, filled with fruitful teaching. There are layers and circles of wisdom to be gleaned from it.

At the beginning, the issue is framed:  Who sinned, the man or his parents? For in that society, one who is deformed or physically at odds with the norm, is by definition a sinner. God causes such affliction and it is only to be determined who is at fault, the parents or the man himself.

Jesus, of course, sets them all straight at the outset. Neither have sinned, God has created him thus for a purpose and of course the purpose is now coming forth.

As a “defined sinner” the blind man was reduced to begging for alms. He was barred from the Temple, there was no way he could be ritually cleansed. He was therefore, probably largely untaught, illiterate, and without any standing whatsoever in his community. He depended on the charity of passersby.

Yet, after his sight is returned through the actions of Jesus, a phenomenal thing happens. He is brought before the Pharisees and questioned. When he relates Jesus’ actions, they refuse to believe it, summoning his parents, who can only corroborate that he is indeed their formerly blind from birth son.

They question the man again. And he realizes that they are being stubborn as they begin to abuse him when he will not retract his explanations. The blind man discourses:

That is just what is so amazing! You don’t know where he comes from and he has opened my eyes!  We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but God does listen to people who are devout and do his will. Ever since the world began it is unheard of for anyone to open the eyes of someone born blind; if this man were not from God, he wouldn’t have been able to do anything.

And they retort in anger:

“Are you trying to teach us, and you a sinner through and through ever since you were born!” And they ejected him.

Indeed. The illiterate, shunned man teaches the great students of the Torah! Indeed God chooses who will speak for him, and he chooses the most unlikely of people.

This makes it clear why the reading from Samuel is included in this day’s scriptural array. [1Samuel 16:6-13] Samuel goes in search of the one whom God has chosen to rule over Israel. When Samuel thinks that Eliab would be a fine ruler, God says:

“Take no notice of his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him; God does not see as human beings see; they look at appearances but Yahweh looks at the heart.” [1Sam 16: 6-7]

And Paul informs the congregation in Ephesus that they too, through the power of the Holy Spirit, are “children of light”, for like the man born blind, they are now capable of goodness and uprightness and truth. [Eph 5:8-9]

The grace of the Spirit, offered graciously by our God, enables us to speak with truth. We need not be of great estate, of great learning. We need only be willing to open our hearts and minds to the indwelling God and allow him to use us as the instruments of his love.

Can you see?

Amen.

Inner Being in Christ

I pray that out of his glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled with the very nature of God.” ~~ Eph 3:16-19

We learn from this passage that the Spirit of God dwells within us in our inner most being. Not the superficial place our ego arises from, that place of pain, desire, fear, and self-importance.

No, the Spirit dwells in our inner being, and that is where Christ comes to us.

And what is Christ? Christ is love, a love so deep and wide  that we cannot even understand it. It is a love that through the weakness of the cross proved God’s strength and power. It is indescribable, without example in our world.

And when we turn toward the Christ, and accept this love, our inner being filled Spirit grows in love. If we allow this gracious gift to come to us, and then to grow in us, we may approach the very nature of God.

Thus we learn that God is this love, so perfected, so beyond our human understanding. Such a gift!

During this Lenten time, we meditate on the freely given gift of Christ, His complete kenosis of love poured out for all. Can we even contemplate such love? No, truthfully we cannot, but we can offer our meagre love, as much as we can conceive of it, uniting in our inner-being selves, in a knowing way, with that love of which we cannot fully grasp.

We can cling to that which is mystery to us still, confident that in the effort alone, God works within us to perfect us and bring us more fully within his embrace.

Amen.-

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