Friday, March 27, 2015

What Are We Going To Do?

My servant David shall be prince over them, and there shall be one shepherd for them all; they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.  Ezekiel 37:24

“What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” John 11:47B-48

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.
Ignatius Loyola

What are we going to do?

After spending generations wandering the desert – scattered – in search of a homeland, the Jews finally returned to the land that was promised to them long ago.  I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (Ezekiel 37:26-27)

Now, however, they feared that the unity brought about after the diaspora would be shattered by the actions of an itinerant preacher from Nazareth.  What are the high priests to do? 

Acting out of fear, not love, the Pharisees and high priests sought to protect the power and possessions they had gathered on earth.  They decided to sacrifice one man over the nation.  By choosing unwisely, they ended up sacrificing the one true gift that God had bestowed upon them – the one shepherd for them all.

Jesus went into hiding for a while and we are now brought to the cusp of Lent wondering what will he do for the Passover feast:   stay in hiding or participate with the people? 

What are we going to do?

Lent asks us this same question that was on the minds of Ezekiel and the high priests of Jerusalem.  For five weeks, we have been offering up prayers, actions and sacrifices to get our temples ready for the events that will unfold.  Now is not the time to relax but to concentrate even more on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.  How can we help the Kingdom get ready for the King?

If we take the self-giving actions of Lent and the words of the Suspice to heart, God’s love and grace are enough for me and you.  After all, when this life is over, what we have gathered on earth remains behind.  The concerns of the high priests of Madison Avenue, Wall Street, Hollywood and K Street are meaningless.  As Amy Welborn writes in The Words We Pray, “The more you roll this [Suspice] prayer around in your soul, and the more you think about it, the more radical it is revealed to be.”  The conspicuous consumption of our consumerism and capital accumulation becomes more meaningless by the minute and by the penny.

If we want to get to a post-material, spiritual stage in our lives, then we have to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and start trying to keep up with the Jesus. The only way to do that is to set ourselves free of the stuff that weighs us down. 

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