-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 5:30, 8:00, 6:00pm.
Servants of Who?
Servant of the "Self". It may be just my perception rather than a fact but the message I hear in the public square is constantly saying that simply obeying the law (avoid hurting other individuals) makes us virtuous, paying taxes (with all of our legal deductions) is an unjust burden of having to care for the lazy poor, and being tolerant (no hate crimes) is the highest form of civility(being a good neighbor)
There's a few obvious problems with this. One, it has resulted in a distorted sense of what it means to be human, especially in the young. Two, it is an understanding of goodness or morality(civility) that is imposed upon us - not chosen by us out of devotion to our beloved citizenship. Three and most troubling, it has produced a very low functioning "collective" of individuals we call society. The participants int this collective busy themselves with adoration of broken heroes (that make us feel good about ourselves), celebration (with religious devotion and fervor) our annual "high holy days” of Superbowls and shopping frenzies, excitement in almost weekly fads (to dull our sense of loneliness) - all with an almost schizophrenic demand that the world "leave me alone"(privacy).
That's apparently who human beings are in American society. Servants of the "self". At least that is what our behavior and story line says. This Sunday's scripture call us to be something very different: the Servants of Christ.
In contrast to the worldly servants of the "self", the servants of Christ are formed into their identity by living with and among a community(not a collective of individual isolates), a living organism, a body, whose mutually dependent members (not privacy-demanding paranoiac's) are dedicated to God our creator and redeemer as the beginning, center, and goal of life. What we learn from these children of God is that obeying the law is simply the beginning of righteousness (which is the cause of holiness), paying taxes is what others can demand of us and ultimately is all about our our survival ( having very little to do with our need to give ourselves away for the sake of love and the least), and tolerance is not loving at all and it is to be applied only to the unavoidable pain and losses of life so that through those, the wisdom of our Suffering Saviour, can increase in our hearts and minds.
As with the servants of the "self "in our society, there are a few obvious problems with the storyline of the servants of Christ. A huge majority of Catholics (75%) live lives in the world and in relationship to the church that say that the communion of the faithful is not necessary for a full and happy life. Even more startling may be that some Catholics who regularly celebrate the holy Eucharist do so from under this worldly delusion or storyline. Jesus has identified this worldly attitude of the self lived by religious people as that of the Pharisees. Remember, that his sermon on the mount of this Sunday's Scriptures was begun with "your righteousness must surpass that of the scribes and Pharisees".
Which storyline is your life the product of? Which storyline is closest to your experience of church? Which story line is your life in the church communicating to the world?
Servants of who?
Get into the ring! How this works...
This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily idea...my 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!