Sunday, February 23, 2014

Become a Fool

Seventh Sunday of Ordinary time 2014 A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  Leviticus 19:2B,18B

If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise.  1 Corinthians 3:18B

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.  When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well.  If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well.  Matthew 5:39-40

Piety flows out of our being Temples of the Holy Spirit.  We are God’s temples and the goodness of our lives reflects the holiness that flows out of our use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  In the fruits of the Spirit’s presence in our lives Christ lives on in who we are by the good we do for one another.  We inherit the kingdom of god because of our love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  All of these fruits of the Spirit bespeak how Christ reaches the others of our lives.  This is what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.  God gave us the gift of freedom.  The purpose of life is to return our freedom to God by how we live the gift of our lives for others.  There is no law about love.  Love begins where justice leaves off.  The more that we do out of love is the surrender of our freedom to the need of another.  This is how we live in the spirit.  Selfishness is when we use the gift of life exclusively for ourselves.  Selflessness is when we live and do what we can for the need of another.  Jesus identifies with our needs and even as we need one another we become Christ for each other.  Christ takes what is done for another as done for himself. 

We study how to belong to Christ.  Christ is willing to give us his heart.  He gave his life for us in the death on the cross.  We give our lives back to Christ when we give our lives for each other.  We can only die once.  All of life is made up of many little dying as we give our time and our energy to what another needs done.  We study how best to give what we can for each other.  Any little thing is worth doing because only the ordinary is extraordinary in the kingdom of God.  It is not what we are doing that makes something significant in the kingdom of God.  It is with how much love we do what we do that makes the difference.  The Spirit of God dwells within us and what we do in the name of Christ unlocks the gates of heaven to our love. 

Our actions unleash the spirit of God within us when we do what we do out of love of our neighbor.  Wherever there is love, God is there.  The extra mile is only an extra mile without love.  We are the floodgates of God’s love until we are honestly trying to do more than we are being asked to do.  Love is never wasted.  I call trying to do more than is being asked of us working on our heavenly portfolio.  Nothing that is done in the name of Christ is ever wasted.

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