Saturday, June 21, 2014

Seek First

Although prophets were sent to them to convert them to the LORD, the people would not listen to their warnings.  2 Chronicles 24:19

But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.  Matthew 6:33

Aloysius, you have drawn me to you, gentle teacher, loving guide. I am filled with gratitude to you...I love you. Just to see you, to sit with your image, is to see all the innocence, the trust, and the fire of prayer of the children of the kingdom.

Aloysius, let me serve, let me love as you loved people on earth. Teach me to leave the dark destructive forces within and without for the Light in the presence of Our Savior, Jesus.

Aloysius, teach me to pray unceasingly, pray with me, stay near me, kneel with me...take my hand. And finally when my life here is over, come to lead me Home.  Amen.

The people would not listen to the warning and kept seeking happiness from other sources. 

From the Introductory notes to the Book of Chronicles, the editors of the New American Bible explain, “Unlike today’s history writing, wherein factual accuracy and impartiality of judgment are the norm, biblical history, with rare exceptions, was less concerned with reporting in precise detail all the facts of a situation than with drawing out the meaning of those facts. Biblical history was thus primarily interpretative, and its purpose was to disclose the action of the living God in human affairs.”

The Chronicler, unlike the historian in other parts of the Hebrew Bible or New Testament, tries to draw out the meaning of the people turning away from the Lord.  If he were a modern novelist-therapist, “sacred history” might be called “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” or “It’s Not Nice to Disregard the Lord.”  Favoring other idols might have just been an understandable reaction of a people waiting generations for the promised Messiah.  More a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude. 

Still we must wonder what other kinds of distractions were around in the fifth century B.C. when so much time was spent just assuring you were meeting your “first-level” needs in Maslow’s pyramid: food, clothing, shelter.  Too much hunting?  Too much gathering?  Too much burying the dead in the desert?  Too much storing wheat in silos for a grainy day?  They, after all, did not have car salesmen, the Internet machine, Sirrius XM radio, the College Baseball World Series, the Home Shopping Network nor “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.”    
Matthew underlines that when the Good New reiterates that you cannot serve two masters with equal affection and commitment. 

Today, I got another message to track all my “wealth” in smartphone app called “Personal Capital.”  Apps like Personal Capital or Mint or Credit Karma or Future Advisor and more tend to try to get us gather more in our silos rather than spread out our funds for charitable purposes. 

You cannot serve two masters if you are just concerned about your affluenza.  Alternative sites like, iGive, and are more attuned to helping you leverage as much of your treasury for charitable purposes.  This weekend, why not make a recurring gift to your parish or charity that will put some of your giving, not your getting, on autopilot. 

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