Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rooted and Grounded in Love

Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:14-19

“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!  There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!  Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division.”  Luke 12:49-51

“Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams.”  Fyodor Dostoevsky

There was a song back in the 1970’s: “Everything is Beautiful.”  Some of the loyal “Your Daily Tripod” readers may recall the Ray Stevens rendition which started with a few lines of a different song that you might have learned at vacation Bible school. 
Jesus loved the little children.
All the little children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loved the little children of the world.

This is NOT the Jesus whom St. Luke presents to us.  The notes in the New American Bible point out: “Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom is a refining and purifying fire. His message that meets with acceptance or rejection will be a source of conflict and dissension even within families.”

From the outset of his narrative, we encounter the opposite of “Everything is Beautiful.”  Elizabeth is barren.  Zechariah is struck blind for his lack of faith.  The teenager Mary finds herself pregnant.  Her fiancĂ© considers dumping her.  This is more “As the World Turns” script material than it is the suddenly colorful life over the rainbow in “The Wizard of Oz.”   

Into this harsh reality, two babies emerge “because of the tender mercy of our God by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79).

However, the emergence of John the Baptist and Jesus do not change the harsh reality of life.  John meets his untimely death at the hands of Herod and Jesus is chased from the temple as he delivers his very first lesson.  Today’s Good News (if you can call it that) is a wake-up call to complacent Christians.  Jesus wants to wake us up, to set us ablaze from the sleepwalking we do in our culture, our families and our churches.  He will separate hose who are awake from those who wish to remain asleep. 

In Ephesians, St. Paul tells us of what we will get when we wake up to the Jesus alarm ringing on our nightstand.  We will get “rooted and grounded in love.”  We will get “power through his Spirit in the inner self.”  We will get “strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth.”  We will get “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.” 

What have you come to accept?  How can you shake things up? 
Pope Francis did some “shaking up” last week with the ideas he asked the Synod on the Family to consider.  What ideas are you clinging to which get in the way of putting your love into action?  Is there one you can work on changing this week?
·         Saving more for retirement than you are giving to charity?
·         Spending more time in front of the TV than you are volunteering?
·         Reading more web pages than pages in the Bible or other sacred texts?
·         Sleeping too late to get in some Morning Prayer time?
·         Heading to bed without a good dose of the Examen?

Changing any one thing will get you even more rooted and grounded in love.

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