Your faith is not your testimony
You were meant to engage your circumstances in the fullness of time and with the fullness of your heart. There is no mistaking your charge, there is no turning back.
Many now await your decision.
But it’s not your words that they need to hear. It’s the power of your hands and the force of your being brought to bear in a world that’s in desperate need of both
Your faith is not your testimony
September 23, 2018
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
WIS 2:12, 17-20 PS 54:3-4, 5, 6 AND 8 JAS 3:16—4:3 MK 9:30-37
I don’t know about you, but it’s always a comfort to know that Jesus’ disciples were normal guys. Take today’s Gospel, for instance. They’re heading to Capernaum, and during the trip, they start arguing among themselves which one is the greatest. Such a guy thing, right? Peter was probably boasting like, dudes, I’m basically second in command here, so I’m the greatest. And James and John were all like, no, he likes us best. Maaaaybe we’re tied, but you’re definitely not the greatest. And Andrew chimed in with, Pete, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have even met Jesus, so check your privilege. And the others made their claims to greatness, too, I bet.
So when they reach town, Jesus asks, “What were y’all talking about?”, and of course they’re too embarrassed to admit they were arguing over something ridiculous. Jesus knew, so he tells them – guys, whoever wants to be first, needs to be last and the servant to all.
Which probably made them scratch their heads and wonder, how can being the least of all, make someone the greatest?
Christianity is a field of paradoxes, and this is one of them. “If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” It’s the opposite of what the world tells us. The world says: “Be number one!! Be the greatest!!” The world sells us the lie, that the most important thing is to have the latest gizmo, to posses the best life has to offer, to live in luxury, to drive the fanciest cars. The world endlessly screams at us: “Look out for #1!”
And look at what that has wrought within our families, communities, and the world. St James wrote in his letter: “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every foul practice.” He goes on to say: “You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.”
James obviously took Jesus’ words to heart that day in Capernaum, and we must too, if we wish to be “peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity.” The world, being in the grip of Satan, has it backwards. It looks at the results of Jesus’ teachings and calls it weakness, and scorns it. Yet within its soul, the world knows that Jesus speaks the truth – His teaching convicts the world, which leads the wicked to say: “Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings, reproaches us for transgressions….”
Here’s the thing about striving to become “the greatest” – everyone ends up being equally dead, and all will one day stand before The Great Judge. He won’t care about how great we think we were in life, and even less at how the world thought considered us, except in one respect: were we great in love? Love for God and love for neighbor.
If one’s greatness lies purely in love for self, then they truly will be last. And lost.
Nearly the worst has happened: the Provençese cochons have come to Bois-de-Bas in force, and established a garrison in the village, bringing three sky-sloops and a full company of troops in addition to the crews. Marc and Elise have been ejected from the shop, which they had been running in our absence; it has been taken over by their quartermaster. Others have been ejected from their homes as well.
It seems that the Provençese commander in Mont-Havre, Général La Salle, has become suspicious of the number of sky sloops that have been lost in the vicinity of Bois-de-Bas, and sent the garrison here to find out what has been happening to them, and to put a stop to it. Beyond that, I know very little
As if the road before me has collapsed, I wait alone
As if your love for me has grown stale, I close down
If nothing else the years have taught me not to wait
I must react before the hurt I must abandon all faith
As if I can protect myself, as if I need no one else to
bear witness to my own pretense
Image Credit: Pixabay
A Familiar and Kindly Office
A Bishop from another region visited out here a while back to give a lecture that I attended. At a gathering afterward someone asked him about his ring. He explained that it had been his father’s before his passing and he now wears it as his episcopal ring. The spiritual significance of the ring and the familiar and kindly role of his office as a father of souls–of a family of kin–were not lost as I stood there staring at his hand when he gave a blessing to end the gathering.
More and more through the years as I’ve prayed over the memories of unrestful wounds and mistrust about my father, I can say, in good faith and with a trust learned only from He alone who is trustworthy, that He has made me more and more fortified with the edification and confidence that comes from the intercession of Saint Joseph and that way in which Saint Francis came to truely be able to call God in Heaven his Father
Progress without tradition
is horsebit success
with no succession.
The present without the past
is the horse unhitched from the cart:
a decaying harvest never brought to market.
Liberty without conservation
is license consuming only itself:
locusts feeding on locusts.
We are proud of our industriousness,
now having itself no industry,
technically, becoming the vaccuum
that follows after the ouroboros of pride
feeds on its own veinglory,
feeding only itself with only itself–
the dead and rotting modern horse that is post-modernity,
kicked and beaten, the age’s two ways of worshipping,
under the title of the age’s golden calf.
When despair muscles out rationality,
Ego takes quick possession,
Like a lender foreclosing
On a debt.
Lies and jealousy and envy
And hate, become as
Toys in a child’s
Playthings to distract us from
Our wounds, mindlessness
To chase us from our
Image Credit: Pixabay
(Originally published 2017)
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