Monday, November 11, 2013

God of the living

The Maccabees reading from Sunday tells the powerful story of a faith community which refuses to relinquish its faith in regards to the ruling power.  The story of the brothers who are tortured and murdered, before the eyes of their mother, is moving and quite sad.  It is a reminder that even before our present time their were evil leaders who attempted to abolish faith and faithfulness to their own ends.  It also reminds us that the power of the Holy Spirit affords peoples the courage and strength to do marvelous things.

This past weekend I had the wonderful experience of assisting with the sacrament of reconciliation, at the Kairos retreat, of my former parish.  To be sure I was nice to see these young people again.  What occurs here with these young people is that they come to discover that their faith, their religious endeavors, are deeper and more extensive than Sunday morning observance.  People of faith are called to stand against Sin, Evil, oppression, injustice. and the disrespect of human life.  Faith nurtures a relationship, which is based in truth and holiness, with God, and others. 

Some weeks ago a newspaper interviewed me about some Church matter.  Of course the question was raised, why does the Church continue to hold on to these old teachings, when our culture seems to be directed different.  I wanted to answer simply, "exactly."  Sacred scriptures and the tradition of the Church are directed to the values and virtues found in the texts of scripture and our faith tradition.  The mission and the ministry of Jesus is very much counter-cultural. 

What Luke attempts to help his hear-ers understand is that the Kingdom of God is not a continuation of this life, but with nicer clothes, but a radical transformation which is marked by unity and communion with God.  This is hard for some folks to perceive.  The challenge of faith is to be prophetic and profound in our relationships with God and neighbor.    In the same way that Jesus sacrifices his life, as we look to the Kingdom, it must be a life of service and sacrifice.

Many of our young people will become servant leaders in whatever community they live in.  Sadly others will chow down on the cotton candy that our culture offers them.  Living the Kingdom of God is our goal and our source of inspiration. 

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