Sunday, 14 October 2012

Material things don't satisfy our deeper human needs

A rich young person came to Jesus and asked  What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

You or I with all of our material wealth living in a country like Canada could ask What do I have to do to make the most of my life? Or, What do I have to do to know and become more aware of a life now in God?
Jesus' initial response to the young person is to ask if he's kept the commandments. But that by itself is not enough to inherit the fullness of life. The Commandments are a great place to start, but we have to go deeper than the commandments as we mature in faith and life.

The next thing that Jesus did was to look at the young person and love them, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
Yet this rich young person missed this Divine gaze of love. He was too consumed with his "things" and other distractions that he was unable to see and know God's love for him. 

Yet this is where it is at! Becoming more aware of the Lord’s love for us is where true and lasting treasure is to be found.

Material things are fleeting and they do not satisfy our deepest needs. Maturing spiritually is to learn to detach from material things. Maturing spiritually is to learn to detach from all which is not in this present moment (including things, thoughts, memories, distractions).
As we mature in faith, as we learn to detach from material things and inner distractions, and to desire more and more the spiritual awareness of the Lord’s love for us, we actually “receive” the Holy Spirit and know eternal life.

If we are going to have a more full and meaningful life, regardless of what material things we have or don't have, we need to get on our knees, open our hearts,  and say “Lord, I need your Love.”

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Thankfulness in Brokenness

Today many families are celebrating Harvest Thanksgiving. Yet many families will struggle today because of broken relationships within the family.

Today’s Gospel is about divorce. What a subject to reflect on for Thanksgiving!

Because this is a painful issue, and because so many people are affected by it, is not a reason for us, the Church, to avoid it.

The same goes for:
  • Adultery and not understanding and respecting the boundaries around covenant marriage.
  • Fornication, especially with adolescents and young people.
  • Homosexuality and the need for intimacy with someone of the same gender. 
  • Abortion and the sanctity of all human life.

These are examples of difficult and painful issues. They are real and present in people’s lives, and need to be dealt with compassionately. 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was teaching against divorce for “Any Matter” (which was an ongoing debate with his contempories). In fact, the Scriptures do allow for divorce for infidelity, emotional or physical neglect or abuse.

Regardless of what the Scriptures say or don’t say about divorce, or any other moral issue, the fact remains that mistakes happen, and that people end up broken and wounded.

Historically, the Church has beaten people up with the morality straight jacket; that is, in our  obvious weaknesses we are to see ourselves as miserable sinners who are separated from God. This has been done with the absolute neglect of encouraging an authentic and deepening inner life.

It's not our morality that is most important, but our awareness of being united to God's Divine Life, regardless of the mistakes that we make. The more aware we are of our Divine Union, the more moral we will become, and not the other way around!

We are, all of us, broken and wounded, and the Lord desires to love us into healing, wholeness, restoration, joy, love and fullness of life!

And as the Church, we don’t judge anyone. As we recognize the garbage in our own lives, and our need for lifelong healing and conversion, the Holy Spirit convicts us, and changes us.

Therefore as the Church, We stand with one another, in the presence of our Lord, to help each other up when we fall, when we are broken, when we are hurting, when we are confused.

That is what I give thanks for today.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Who do you follow?

These days, asking someone who they follow, the first thing they may think of is Twitter or Facebook!

The truth is that we all "follow" someone. There are people in our lives whom we look to encourage us, inspire us, to model our lives after. That could be someone we know personally, someone of influence in society, someone of interest in history.

Abraham Lincoln is a national leader who inspires me because of his commitment to freedom and equality for all people. Nelson Mandela inspires me because of his ability to overcome adversity and change a nation. My wife is someone whom I look up to and inspires me in how we live together as a family. Bobby Orr is my hockey hero that I look up to. Max, my dog, inspires me to play and have fun.

But of all the ones that I look up to, it is Jesus who is the most important Person that I follow.

The Church historically has done injustice to what it means to follow Jesus. Following Jesus is not about the moral do's and don'ts. Following Jesus is about a deepening awareness of our absolute Oneness with Divine Life. Morality needs to be consequent to a deepening and maturing inner life. That is what Jesus reveals to us.

Because of the Cross of Jesus, I can know and experience forgiveness in my life.
Because of Jesus, I can know non-judgemental compassion toward all people.
Because of Jesus, I can know the power of Divine Love, the Holy Spirit, to reconcile and unite.

As I follow Jesus, I learn to travel within my heart and mind. I learn to know the silence and stillness at the very center of my existence. It is in this Holy Silence, this Holy Ground, that I know that I am one with God, and one with you. It is out of this sacred place that we can support one another in our struggles, respect our differences, celebrate our sameness.

As I follow Jesus, I know a peace that no one else can give.

Who do you follow?

As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus answered him, “Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.” And to another he said, “Follow me.” But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.” But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God.” And another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Jesus answered him, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.”