Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Give Everything Over to Him April 19

We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29

The Lord hears the cry of the poor. Psalm 34:2

For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. John 3:34-36


Jesus, you tell us that the powerful grow poor and hungry, but those who seek you lack nothing that is good. Deliver us from our logic. Deliver us from our earthy “wisdom.” These tell us that life is finite, ending, not eternal or unending. All you say comes from heaven but all we know comes from earth. Help us to let go of the wisdom of this world so that we may understand and believe in you to achieve eternal life. Amen.


In today’s first reading, when the apostles are faced with the choice preach or die, they elect to preach. Fortunately, the authorities back off the death threat and only flog them.

The apostles have learned that there is no half way or part way with Jesus. He does not “ration his gift of the Spirit.” Jesus learned this lesson from his own father who turned his son over to humanity completely. After Jesus gave His life for us completely, Jesus turns the Holy Spirit over to us completely. In turn, he expects us to turn over everything to him completely.

We have a choice. God or the world. This is either/or. You can not serve both masters. It’s like going into the voting booth. You have to make a choice. Candidate A vs. Candidate B. You can not have both as leaders. Think of it another way: There are many television shows broadcasting Poker games. When one player has a really good hand, they sometimes will bet all their chips against the other players – “All in.” Are you ready to go all in for Jesus?

“The love of God is the hatred of the world and the love of the world is the hatred of God,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard.

What does God demand if nothing less than total obedience? The choice is left to us.


Jesus gives people a choice. From the woman at the well to the women at the foot of the cross, Jesus asks for followers. Jesus offers us that same choice. We can say, “Yes” or “No.”

In the wake of our sorrow over the deaths of 33 students and faculty members at Virginia Tech, today comes the news that 131 people were killed and 164 people were injured as four car bombs exploded in Bagdad. Like the students and teachers in Blacksburg, these people were just going about their daily lives. Although they are not our neighbors and parishioners like the Virginia Tech victims, they are victims nonetheless. One car bomb exploded in a marketplace where people were buying food for dinner. Another bomb was detonated at a police checkpoint. There tragedy is ours, too, just like the tragedy in Blacksburg is one we share.

Are we getting too numb to the culture of violence that surrounds us and forgetting the central message that Jesus left us with? Peace be with you, he said at the Last Supper and when he appeared in the Upper Room.

Today, when I bring up the topic of gun control, my companions reject it. Instead, we retreat into our dens and curl up in front of movies like “Brute Force,” “The Killers,” “Dead Calm,” “The Punisher” and more. That’s just what’s on regular cable, not the other violence delivered up by HBO, Showtime, Cinemax or Direct TV.

We may not be able to go cold turkey on cultural violence. However, why not vow to attend Mass this week in honor of the dead in Blacksburg and Bagdad and turn off all violence on television for a week? Replace it with life affirming choices – good books, good music and good discussions with your family.

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