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Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

March 13 - Lent I

-The Homily for March 6th is in the Library ->
-The scriptures for Sunday March 13th are at ->
-I am preaching at the 4:00pm Mass on Saturday and the 8:00am Mass on Sunday

Ally Ally in Free!

The scriptures on this first week of Lent 2011 hold up two "characters" for us to examine. One is "autonomous" and the Other is "free". In the first case I am speaking, of course, of the woman in the garden who uses her freedom to detach herself from God = autonomy. In the second case I am speaking of Jesus who execises his freedom to reject the self and embrace the hand of God.

This comparison between license and true freedom is something that affects every Christian life everyday. The temptation is to mis-read one's identity, one's purpose, and one's circumstance AND then to exercize the great gift of freedom by choosing God or self.

The witness of Eve reminds all of us of the innate tendency of our broken human condition (to defend and build up the false self at every moment in every circumstance). The witness and ministry of Jesus shows us and helps us to enter into the "Pattern of salvation". What I mean by the pattern of salvation is that we have to see that there is a system at work and then we must work the system.

The false self always reads every situation from the perspective of how threatened it is. It always presents us with a very reasonable motivation for "taking care of ourselves (even religious, but always emotional reasons)." That's the system that is built into us from sin. It's called death. In fact, even though it is death we think it's really "living". Our sharing in the liberation that Jesus has instituted into our human condition by His resurrection and the Holy Spirit is to buck the system.

By His grace we can, ever so slightly, begin to cause and see some light between our circumstances and our false self demanding autonomy. By His grace, we can 'starve' the false self through the logic of the cross(I have to die) and we can cling to God, abandoning the falsehood. We have to start small (like curbing the hunger for bread) and thereby allowing the distance between our hardened selfish hearts and everyday choices to widen. More and more kingdom can get in.

Only a heart, a true self, that is pacticed in true freedom, self-denial, can ultimately embrace God and His Kingdom." Before we judge 'ol Eve, we need to ask "are we free enough to conquer our own bellies? If not, how will we ever resist the cunning devil himself? That will be the test.


Anonymous said...

I can't blame anyone for developing my false-self, I did develop it myself in my "own likeness" rather than in the likeness of God.I didn't know better...I had to cope with the abuse of emotional trauma in my early childhood. I had to look for some kind of comfort for some attention. I "had to be happy"
in some way. Repression of feelings was the best I could do,with a smile in front of others, as you can imagine resentment was ever present.
As a consequence, frustration has been part of my life, my inability to believe that I was loved, even doubt the love of God. All because my false-self!!!
As Fr. Estok mention there is a "pattern of Salvation", a system to work with, a system to dismantle my false-self and transform it into my True-Self, that self created in the image of God, that self that has the potential to become Christ, to use my talents, gifts, personality and everything God has given me to advance in my journey, to get the freedom necessary for salvation. To die and rise again!!
My "pattern of salvation" is PRAYER/MEDITATION
Peace. Gitana

Faith said...

I appreciate the Matador’s qualification of “freedom” vs. “autonomy.” Freedom in the Christian sense is so different than the way we/I typically think of it. Somehow - I suppose because of our culture being the way it is with its value on individualism, narcissism, etc. - freedom is often viewed as “I am free to do whatever I need to do to make things come out right for me!” But in following Christ, who spent his life on earth exercising his will to pursue that of his Father’s, we are able to see the better way. I liked the Matador’s teaching of “starting small and thereby allowing the distance between our hardened selfish hearts and everyday choices to widen – allowing more and more kingdom to get in.” That makes sense to me, and is not an overpowering goal when reminded it can be done in steps and with time. This conversion process is never easy – but such a great venture for a lifetime.

And, Gitana, thank you so much for sharing yourself. I have noticed your constant reminder of the power of reflection and meditation on our Lord – and I find it inspirational. God bless.