The readings this Sunday keep coming back to me. Yes, I know it’s only Monday, but I have read a few things to remind me of them, and dagnabit, they just won’t go away!
That just sounds wrong, doesn’t it? Allow me to clarify, I do not want the Word of the Lord to leave me. What I am saying is that there are certain things that keep coming right back at me, I guess I’ll just have to write about it in order for it to stop harassing me :)
When Elijah placed the mantle over Elisha’s shoulders, Elisha told him that he just wanted to go and kiss his Mother and Father good-bye. Well, Elijah makes it pretty clear that once we choose to follow God, there is no turning back (1 Kings 19:19-21).
God does not want us to be lukewarm in our following (Revelation 3:15-19).We either DO or we DON’T! We either know Him or we don’t.
Here’s the question, Do I know God? I know that to get to God, I must go through Jesus (John 14: 6-7). I know that Jesus is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. I also know that to know Jesus, I have His Acts, His Words, I have the Bible. I know that I am one with Jesus when I partake in Communion. I know that He is Present in the Blessed Sacrament. I know all of this. And yet, I have to ask again, Do I know God?
Now why this questioning? I was sent this link to a book called, How Jesus Taught Me to Forgive and Love. And the Author narrates how he thought he knew God. Yet, it wasn’t until Fr. Michael pointed out to him that until he knew Jesus Christ he would never know God.
All this is rooted in the author harboring hatred in his heart. He was told by many a Priest that their Prayers would not rid him of his hatred. That he must know Christ in order to know Peace.
Well, I have a confession, I harbor much anger, resentment and perhaps it is even hatred that lies within me as well. You see, I am not as introspective as I once was. In fact, I really didn’t even know I had so much anger, I thought it was all pain and hurt. Well, thanks to CFS, I know it is anger and resentment. Hatred? Maybe not, but I won’t rule it out just yet because it may help me to identify with the Narrator’s search for Peace. Thus, I will keep hatred.
The Narrator speaks of his Journey. He speaks of how when he read the Scriptures again, he read them differently, with a new awareness. My words, not his. I don’t want to be accused of re-writing ;) As I was saying, he sees things that perhaps he had glossed over previously.
He once thought that God Punished, that God kept a tally of our Wrong-doings. After going back to the Scriptures, he sees that Jesus never condemned. He states that, ”The Son showed that the Father never punishes, but only saves” (http://www.forgiveandlove.com/part1-a.php).
Realizing this, he speaks of a Transformation.
I want that change. I want to no longer be angry, to no longer house resentment. I want to follow Christ!
Christ is the only answer to my quest. I must be like Him. How?
“Msgr. Luigi Giussani points out so clearly, namely that “Christ offers Himself as the answer to [who] ‘I’ am.” This is why service of others, what the Gospel writers and St. Paul refer to as diakonia, figures so prominently in all of our readings. Diakonia, which is loving, self-emptying service of others, must be freely chosen”( http://scottdodge.blogspot.com/).
Serving. Loving. Choosing the difficult, narrow path that leads us to Him. Not just choosing with our Heads, or sort of wanting to with all our hearts. Not choosing to follow Him later in life, or right before we die, or on Death’s bed. We must deliberately, purposefully choose to carry our Crosses. We can’t sort of follow and then expect to go to Heaven.
As much as I LOVE the whole, Jesus showed us how much our Father Loves us and forgives us, we also know, know, that God is a JUST God, right? Right! Right?
If not, there would be no Hell. There would not exist the fiery pit. Dan Burke says it best in his post, “A Hellish Backup Plan”:
The key to understanding these passages is that all that are condemned here are “faithful,” “good,” “religious” people who are already “seeking” or “following” Christ! They all claim to know God, they are members of a parish, they claim Jesus as their “Lord.” Some have performed miracles in his name! What is the issue?!
It is simple really. The condemned are not pursuing him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They are holding on to corners of their soul where the cleansing of God is not welcome.
What passages is he speaking of, Matthew, Chapter 7, 13-29.
Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few….Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire… Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.
He did not add 28-29, but I feel that they add emphasis, “When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”
Who better than Jesus to tell us, to guide us, to teach us? Only He is Perfect. Only He is our Model, our Example. We must follow His example and be like Him alone. Others can help to guide us toward and down His Path, but they are not whom we should emulate. We can still see their “treasure,” but clay pots that we are, we should not strive to be like other clay pots, only take the good that they have and expound upon it until we reach Jesus. As Fr. Ron’s Father used to tell them, “Anyone can show me humanity; I need someone to show me divinity!” (http://www.ronrolheiser.com/columnarchive/archive_display.php?rec_id=519). And when we see it, take it! Emulate it! Be like it! Otherwise, well, it’ll be an Eternal Inferno.
To repeat Fr. Mario’s Golden Rule this Sunday, ”Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself, and we do love ourselves!”
Not impossible. Definitely Difficult. Be like Christ, Extremely Difficult. Know Christ, lots and lots of Work. But hey, what’s the alternative…