Friday, October 25, 2019

What is Right?

What is Right?

Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Romans 7:24

You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Luke 12:56-57

Jesus, draw near to us and walk with us. Help us to overcome our sadness and depression the same way that you helped Cleopas. Give us a sense of hospitality to invite you into our lives and to listen to what you have to say to us. Give us a sense of urgency to do whatever you ask. Amen.

Jesus told us yesterday that our house will be divided against itself.  Today, the foreboding news gets bleaker.  Our own nature will also divide us and pull us in competing directions.

St. Paul confronts this head-on as he reflects on the desires of the body and the desires of the soul. However, Paul parts ways with Jesus here. Jesus reminds us that nothing we put into our bodies from outside can defile us. However, evil thoughts – greed, envy, want – come from inside us and cause pain. Evil also may attack us as St. Paul acknowledges, but evil is an external force that weaves its way inside our being.

How do we deal with this evil? How do we get rid of it even when we alone are powerless to stop such a strong man? Perhaps we have to put something else in its way to start crowding out the sinful nature that attacks us.

Open a window or a door and let Christ in. Remember the story about the encounter with Jesus that occurred on the road to Emmaus. Cleopas and a companion were walking to a nearby village when they encountered a man who they did not recognize as Jesus. After they related what happened to Jesus, they opened their ears to hear the word.

“O foolish men, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:26-27)

After dinner, when Jesus had entered into their lives, they began to see things differently. “…their eyes were opened, and they recognized him, and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?" (Luke 24:31-32)

Jesus knows that once we experience Him, our hearts will “burn” and yearn for more. The proverbial devil will not have a chance.

Today again, Jesus poses the rhetorical question. He knows that he has been teaching and preaching effectively. However, people do not “get it.” We need constant reminders, so we do not fall back into our comfort zone and cozy up to our old ways.

Once we let Jesus in, we will not need external guidance. We will have all the tools we need to judge for ourselves.

Think of one of your old habits that obscures your daily pursuit of piety, study, and action. Can you smash one old habit to make way for Jesus? Which one?  Write it down and tie the message to a rock. Throw the rock in the river. Bye-bye!

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