Friday, August 24, 2012

The Spirit Lifted Me Up

The Spirit Lifted Me Up

August 25, 2012
Saturday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  Ezekiel 43:4-5

But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren.  And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.  Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.  He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.  Matthew 23:9-12


Father, remove from our lives all those practicing false piety.  Jesus, in your grace and generosity, give to us mentors who will show us how to build a relationship with you based upon the humility of a servant leader like you.  Holy Spirit set us free from the trappings of pride and envy so that we might humbly walk with our God.    


The readings today let us feel the tension between one whose piety is grounded in the Spirit and those whose piety is grounded in the ego.    From the first, a productive and rewarding relationship unfolds.  From the latter, we must not let ourselves be led astray.

Ezekiel experiences the true presence of the Lord in the temple.  He is blessed with the Holy Spirit who lifts him up.   In contrast, Jesus warns us of the false piety of those who would exalt themselves with titles, fancy clothing, and special adornments.

Jesus consistently warns us against public displays of piety.  He is all for affection.  He wants a relationship with us rooted in humility.  However, pride – either in ourselves or in others – can lead us in the wrong direction – away from a humble walk with the Lord.


Popular culture preaches just the opposite of today’s Gospel.  You deserve a break today (as long as you put up with high salt, high fat, sugary food and drink that does not provide real nutrition).  Like a good neighbor, an insurance company is there (as long as you pay your premiums).  You can do it.  The big orange box building supply company can help (as long as you bring your Visa or Mastercard or checkbook along). 

Companies like these continue to try to separate us from our bank account balance.  Jesus on the other hand, offers us an almost no strings attached relationship.  For us, he has the infinite generosity that Colleen reminded us about on Wednesday in her reflection.  All we have to do to hold up our end of the covenant is to humble ourselves every day as we pick up our cross and follow Him up the hill to Calvary. 
Whose advertising will you reject today in favor of a real relationship not based not upon commercial appeal but on spiritual fulfillment?  You deserve a break today…from the allure of popular culture.  Turn off all your crackberry fruity devices.  Let the Holy Spirit take you away as the Spirit swept Ezekiel into the temple.  

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