Monday, January 06, 2014

From That Time On

We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.  1 John 3:22

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”  Matthew 4:17

From “A New Year Blessing”
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
Benedictus (To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue)

Sometimes, what the Sacred Scripture SAYS is as important as WHAT IT MEANS and WHY IT MATTERS.  However, today, I focus NOT on what has been included in our readings for the day, but rather what was left off.

In our first reading, the Church has left off the first part of the sentence which is in 1 John 3:21:  “Beloved, if [our] hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence in God and…”

We all know the famous passage from lucky Matthew 7:7 on this same theme:  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”  This sounds pretty one-sided.  However, what we have here is a relationship, a covenant.  God asks a little of us to give to us so much.  We have to hold up our end of the cross with more than just our sins.  We also do it by changing. 

Jesus effectively picks up right where the last prophet John the Baptizer left off.  While he builds new rooms on the Kingdom, Jesus first message is the same one we heard from John.  Repent.  Change.  Because the Kingdom of God is near. (Nearer than you think!).

Look out for the conditional statements made by Jesus.  Nothing he says is absolute unless we listen carefully and put into the practice of our piety, study and action his commandments.

Here is another conditional statement for your reading and reflection pleasure from Matthew (21:21):  Jesus said to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done.

If only…

When we pick up our Tripod of piety, study and action, we are different than we were when we did not focus on these practices.  Piety matters.  Study Matters.  Action Matters.  

Time is measured in society with years designated BCE.  If you have made a Cursillo weekend or are living by the Good News, then you also can mark time in BCE – Before your Cursillo Era.  Now, how are you changing, not just every year with resolutions, but every day?

As Catholic Christians, we are all “under construction.”  Next to the cross, maybe the symbol of our faith should also be a “Detour Sign” to get us off the beaten path and onto a new walk for the New Year.

The status quo is not what Jesus came to preserve.  He came to change, to build a new Kingdom out of the world by starting a revolution of renovations that start with each soul he encountered and stretched on to you and to me. 

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