Friday, September 06, 2013

Reconciled In the Fleshy Body of Christ

Saturday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

You once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds; God has now reconciled you in the fleshly Body of Christ through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the Gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister. Colossians 1:21-23

Jesus said to them in reply, “Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry?  How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering, which only the priests could lawfully eat, ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”  Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”  Luke 6:3-5

May the plea for peace rise up and touch the heart of everyone so that they may lay down their weapons and be let themselves be led by the desire for peace.
Let us ask Mary to help us to respond to violence, to conflict and to war, with the power of dialogue, reconciliation and love. She is our mother: may she help us to find peace; all of us are her children! Help us, Mary, to overcome this most difficult moment and to dedicate ourselves each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us!   (Pope Francis)

Do we remain alienated and hostile in mind?  Despite what Jesus has done for us, we remain firmly grounded in our ways, not his.  We persevere in the ways of the world, not the Kingdom.  We place our hope in Capitol Hill, Wall Street, Hollywood, and Madison Avenue, not in the way of the Cross up Calvary.
To get us off the lily pad of our comfort zone, look what Jesus did.  God reconciled us “in the fleshy body of Christ through his death.”  Jesus makes us holy, without blemish and irreproachable.  Wow.  All we have to do is change our evil ways.
Change, too, is the lesson in the wheat fields that Jesus preaches to the Pharisees.  The old ways of sacrifice are no longer valid.  In the presence of the Lord, the old rules of Sabbath economics are overturned.  The new rules are that Jesus is the lord of the Sabbath.
The Pharisees remain on the lily pad.  The old rules provided their comfort zone.  As Jesus pushed them off of that into the lake of change, they pushed back and plotted what they might do to get even.  Despite what Jesus was about to give up – his fleshy body to the cross of death, they refused to budge. 

If Christianity comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable, what afflicts you today?  The drum beats of potential way in Syria?  If so, then you can join Pope Francis today for a day of fasting and prayer for peace in Syria, the Middle East, and throughout the world.
The USCCB also asks us to urge Congress to Pursue Political Solution in Syria, Not Military Option!  Contact your two U.S. Senators and your Representative and urge them to vote against a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria.  Instead, ask them to support U.S. leadership, in collaboration with the international community, for an immediate ceasefire in Syria, serious and inclusive negotiations for peace, and increased humanitarian assistance.
Both the Holy See and USCCB have condemned the chemical weapons attacks, but remain convinced that only dialogue can save lives and bring about peace in Syria.  The view of the Church was summed up in a letter that Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Bishop Richard E. Pates recently sent to all members of Congress on September 5.  They noted that the Holy Father and the bishops of the region “have made it clear that a military attack will be counterproductive, will exacerbate an already deadly situation, and will have unintended negative consequences.”  Their letter went on to say:  “The longstanding position of our Conference of Bishops is that the Syrian people urgently need a political solution.  We ask the United States to work with other governments to obtain a ceasefire, initiate serious negotiations, provide impartial humanitarian assistance, and encourage efforts to build an inclusive society in Syria that protects the rights of all its citizens, including Christians and other minorities.”

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