Luke 19: 1-10
To be chosen is a wonderful thing. Remember when your partner chose you? Remember the day someone looked at you and said they loved you? Or, better yet, having known you a long time, knowing your faults and foibles, that person still loves you?
What a great thing it is to be chosen; not only at first, but day after day. What a great thing it is to be loved, despite one’s weaknesses or failures.
It must have been what Zacchaeus felt when Jesus said: “Hurry down, I mean to stay at your house.” What a wonderful thing it must have been for Zacchaeus, who was despised because he was a tax collector, to feel invited to become a part of the group again. How healing this must have been. We don’t know, but I wonder what happened to Zacchaeus over time? And notice too, despite the grumblings of the righteous folk around that Jesus was going to “go to a sinner’s house,” Jesus did not back down.
God doesn’t want to hang around on the periphery. She wants to come inside our house, the place where we are fully ourselves, gifts and warts and all. He desires to come to the place where we are fully known and there speak a word of love that has the power to move us beyond mere observers in a tree to participants in life and community. I mean to stay at your house.
Jesus often chastises the religious leaders of his time, accusing them of being “blind guides.” How easily any charism which gets institutionalized over time, can begin to loose its way and get hung up on peripheral matters to the exclusion of love and compassion. OK, I’m not going to bash any institution here, but take another road by asking: who are the “guides” that you have in your life? Who do you listen to?
When I look back on my life, those who have been good guides have lead me to a greater sense of clarity and life. There is within me a gut sense whether one is a good guide or a blind guide. I am grateful for the guides that have appeared in various chapters of my life and have lead me to good places. Sometimes this has not been easy. But even challenge has been made with a view to leading me to fuller, happier life.
When we are blessed with a good guide, there is a tendency to “canonize” them. We sometimes put them high on a pedestal and when we discover that they are merely human, like us, we can become disillusioned. No one is perfect.
Who are you listening to in your life? Do you listen to anyone, or have you set yourself up as the ultimate guide? Do you consult? Who are the guides in your life?
I admire the courage of those who have risked their jobs and the support of family, friends and associates to take a stance, to walk in a new way and to make a new dream a reality. It is such people that make things change. It’s like the thoughts that many have, the conversations about how this or that should be different, suddenly become REAL when someone stops talking and starts doing.
“Everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake, will receive many times as much . . .” (See Matthew 19: 23-30)
What am I being called to let go of in order to make a new dream a reality?
I have been struggling with the re-emergence of a guy in my life that I once had deep feelings for. I have been struggling with the way he is living his life. I am no saint, by any means; but after many years of not being in touch, to hear of the way he is living and justifying his life surprises me.
In the midst of this struggle, I opened to a daily reading. It was from Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castle” and this is what it said: “Let us look at our own shortcomings and leave other’s alone. . . . There is no reason why we should expect everyone else to travel by our own road, and we should not attempt to point them to the spiritual path when perhaps we don’t know what it is.”
I looked up and laughed, amazed at Divine Synchronicity. . . . And to think there are times when I have difficulty believing!
Teresa goes on to say that we might learn important lessons from the people who shock us. Indeed, it may help define more clearly what is life giving to us and who we are.
Get the focus off of him; and get it back on yourself and what you need to do to live in ways that are life giving for you.
Moses, the man who lead Israel out of Egypt to the promised land, never himself made it to the promised land. He died before they got there, surrendering the people and the dream into God’s hands.
Those of us who dream a new dream and who work for gay rights, church renewal, the end of hunger and poverty, equality among all people (and the list goes on) may never live to see the “promised land.” We may never live to see the dream take shape. Does that mean that we should not, like Moses, lead others through the desert to this land?
We are sometimes the cornerstone, the building blocks that make a dream a reality – but we may never live to see the dream take shape.
What is your dream? What is a vision for a better world that you hold in your heart?
What is a step that we can take today to get to the promised land? Instead of wondering if we’ll actually see our dream realized, perhaps we should just act as if it will.
When I am connected to my Source, taking the time to pray, meditate and read all of a sudden it seems that life begins to flow, take shape and my work is given wings. Life takes off. Conversely, when I am not connected, I am like a hampster in a cage that runs and runs and gets nowhere – fast.
“God is able to make every grace abundant for you.” (See 2Corinthians 9: 6-10).
I have of late been taking some risks. At times I have been frightened, but I have to believe that, if what I am doing is in the flow of Divine grace – God will provide – and provide ABUNDANTLY. The important thing is that I stay connected and then, just do it.
I have, of late, been extremely focused on and busy about the details of selling a house, buying a house, moving and all that entails.
Today, I, along with a large community of people, lay to rest a bright, compassionate young man who was killed in an auto accident.
In the presence of such an event I am again reminded that the building of our “kingdoms” here don’t matter a great deal. What matters is the building of hearts, the building up of people. This is true wealth, the creation of true beauty – and it is only this that gives joy and meaning to life.
I realize that this is one of those seasons of transition in life; yet it begs me to ask the question: How much time do I give to the care of “things?” Conversely, how much time do I give to the care of people?
Thy kingdom come.
“Go into the whole world and proclaim the good news!” (Mark 16: 15)
I remember my Mom growing up saying of this or that person “he’s bad news.” The message was obvious, stay clear of him and for God’s sake, don’t be like him! Jesus in the Gospel says to his disciples that they are to go into the whole world and proclaim the good news.
Am I good news? Or am I bad news? Is my life a reflection of good news for people? Does my presence brighten the world around me, or does it drain others?
Our lives are meant to be a reflection of the good news. I am called to point to and reflect what is good about life. This challenges me to think if that, indeed, is a reality in my life? If I gossip or tear others down, I am not a reflection of what is good. If I complain all the time, point out what is wrong with others or the world, I am not good news. If I berate myself every time I look in the mirror, I am not good news.
Go, let your life be a proclamation of the good news! Your reflection of what is good will have a ripple affect on the world. Our lives really do matter!
John 15: 1-8
“I am the vine. . . . Remain in me.”
To what or to whom do you stay connected? Is it a good connection? Is it a connection that feeds you, one that nourishes your spirit, one that gives you joy and life? To what or to whom do you turn to when the chips are down?
If I am to be honest, I have to say that sometimes I turn to things or people that are not the best for me. My spirit ends up further eroded. Gratefully I eventually return to the Source that does nourish my spirit in good ways – and people that share and support that connection.
When I remove myself from my Source due to busyness, worry, compulsive behavior and the like, I begin to whither. I can literally feel the life force drain from my body. When I seek to re-establish that connection I feel the life force return.
To what, or to Whom are you connected? Is it a good connection?