-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at USCCB.org
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 8:00am and 6:00pm Sunday
Tempted to Isolate!
What is your gut reaction to violence, hatred, opposition, ridicule, persecution????? Do you welcome the comfort of others, do you seek the consolation of friends, do you look for, long for and appreciate pity??? Or do you flee from, shun, and run away from human companionship?
Withdrawal(either physical, psychological, or spiritual) is the triumph of the evil one. Withdrawal is different than retreat - the rare and intentional spiritual exercise or the conscious choice to seek God in solitude. Withdrawal is not the choice to seek God but the fear-driven lack of trust in anyone other than the self.
Jesus hears of the violent death of his precursor and kinsman John the Baptist and he "withdraws". He is tempted, just as he was in the desert, and this time to get away from the companionship. As in the desert, Jesus is saved from this temptation to isolate, to withdraw from companionship, by angels - those more needy than he who sought his companionship...he was rescued by empathy.
His empathy pulls him out of the temptation to withdraw and drives him outward into communion with those who longed for him. This temptation of Christ is a sign to all of us to resist and reject the strategy of evil (withdrawal) when life frustrates us.
The. Letter to the Romans is clear - nothing should separate us from the communion with God that we have in Christ Jesus. Easier said than done. How many of us when we fail - first think of hiding from others?. How many of us when we are diagnosed are tempted to hide - withdraw, not to burden others with my pain. How many of us when reflecting upon our death have this temptation to be disposed of - not wanting others to "be looking at me"? It's all isolation, hiding, evil.
We revolt against the pity of others who genuinely love us. We allow a lot of stuff to separate us from the love of God. A spirituality of unity or communion calls us to reject the temptation to isolation and to move into empathy, consolation, solidarity, community.
It's natural to our broken humanity - withdraw. It is natural to our divine likeness - communion!