Friday, September 11, 2015

Well Built

This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost. But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.  1 Timothy 1:15B-16

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them.  That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built.  Luke 6:46-48

“The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Nerds are Christians, too.  Or at least we can be.

Do you remember that phrase from Yoda in Star Wars?  “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  As Christians, we are all apprentice Jedi knight disciples.  Jesus is saying essentially what Yoda said.  Jesus says, “No.”  No to simple listening.  There is only do or do not.  There is no just listening when it comes to the commandments of Jesus.

There might very well be two foundations in preaching…but there is only one that matters.  That foundation has three steps and only three steps.
  1. Come to Jesus. (Piety)
  2. Listen to Jesus. (Study)
  3. Do what Jesus says. (Action)
Sacred scripture says this many different ways.  It all boils down to the three legs of the Cursillo Tripod.

For it is not those who hear the law who are just in the sight of God; rather, those who observe the law will be justified (Romans 2:13)

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves. (James 1:22)

Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous.  (1 John 3:7)

No one really knows what the papal father will say when he comes to Washington in nine days.  However, just as he is almost always on the move, he understands and asks for compassion to those who also are in flight…in flight from Syria.  In flight from Africa through Lampedusa…in flight from a war-torn homeland to a land with promise.

The first step is to change minds and hearts in Washington, in Philadelphia, in New York City.  The next step is to line up sponsor parishes who can take in refugee families like we did to the fleeing boat people of Southeast Asia in the years after the Viet Nam War ended.  Or like the Egyptians did to a small holy family fleeing the violence of Herod two thousand years ago.

Are you ready to welcome the stranger, the wretched refuse from far off teeming shores to this land, to your land, to my land?   Are you ready to lift your lamp beside a wide open golden door? 

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