Monday, July 16, 2012

Follow After Me

Follow After Me

July 16, 2012
Monday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Wash yourselves clean!  Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good.  Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow.  Isaiah 1:16-17

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  Matthew 10:37-39


O Spirit of God, we ask you to help orient all our actions by your inspirations, carry them on by your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may always begin from you and through you be happily ended.  Amen.  (Jesuit Prayer for Spiritual Freedom)


Jesus never promised us that life would be easy.  The audience he was speaking to was well aware of the Roman form of capital punishment and execution.  They knew what the cross meant -- yet they did not know that this was how Jesus would die.
The roots of Christianity of the Hebrew Bible rejected prominent cultural practices like ritual sacrifice just as strongly as the roots of Christianity in the New Testament rejected popular notions of family and society in order to follow Jesus without being bound with people and possessions.
While Jesus was walking about Galilee, it was easy for the apostles to walk with Him and follow Jesus where ever his feet would wander.  However, they did not yet realize that the path would ascend up Calvary. 


What cultural contradictions does Christianity pose for your practice?  How will you reconcile these with the ways you preach and teach?
How does accumulating a hefty 401K reconcile with the request to give one-tenth of what you have to the poor?  This preferential option for the poor is rooted back in the words of the prophet Isaiah.  If we are more concerned about our retirement, our next car or our summer vacation, how can we meet the needs of the widows and orphans among us?

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