Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Sent Forth

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off. So they, sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and from there sailed to Cyprus.  Acts 13:2-4

I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. John 12:46-47

with every breath a thanksgiving,
every thought wrapped in compassion,
every word filled with kindness,
and every deed a channel of Love.
Through your grace may our lives become a prayer. Amen.
– Linda Douty
Praying in the Messiness of Life

“It’s a puzzling thing.  The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I am looking for the truth.’ And so, it goes away. Puzzling.” (Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)

For thousands of years, the Hebrews awaited a Savior to be sent from God via the Davidic lineage.  When the very Savior came into the world, they doubted him, ignored him and finally condemned him to a horrific death on the cross.   


Let's look at how the Gospel of John uses the word condemn:

John told us it was going to be like this. 
All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:3-5

Jesus told Nicodemus it was going to be like this.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:17-18)

Nicodemus tried to stop it – the condemnation of the light-giving, truth-speaking Savior -- from happening. To no avail.
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (John 7:50-52)

Despite what Jesus knew he would face, he refused to condemn others – thus living up to his promise not to condemn the world nor anyone on it – least of all the woman caught in adultery.
Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin anymore.”] (John 8:10-11)

Jesus does not condemn.  So, why do we?  Puzzling.

Jesus puts the responsibility squarely on our shoulders.  Our own words and deeds have the power to condemn us because Jesus will not do so.  His commandment is eternal life. We are sent forth to fulfill this commandment. 

This weekend, there will be tens of thousands of college graduates sent forth as they close out their college careers.  Many will come from private and state colleges but thousands will come from Catholic schools.  Notre Dame.  Georgetown.  St. John’s.  St. Bonaventure.  Marymount.  Sacred Heart.  Seton Hall.  Belmont Abbey. 

Their graduation is an accomplishment which sets them apart from others.  What message will fall on their ears?  Will they listen?  Will they go forth to save the world?

Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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