Westside Paulist, one of our blogger friends, went home to God yesterday…after battling a long illness. Fr. Michael Hunt, CSP–an outstanding man and Paulist Priest–was a wonderful man. Because of him, I have a book about to go to press next fall…he edited the first manuscript along with a strongly worded letter to the President at Paulist Press to publish it.
Fr. Michael appreciated all the prayers people sent his way. He lived with a grace that few could ever capture. Please keep his family in your prayers–especially his sister, Ann and his brother, David –as well as his Paulist family at 59th Street…where his voice rang through the common room always with strong wit and intelligence.
I am a better man for having known him.
Sorry for the lack of posting the last few…we’ve been busy, as a friend is dying and we’ve been picking up slack for each other and visiting the hospital as well.
St. Paul goes Oprah today…speaking of inner peace in a way.
But yet this passage from St. Paul gives me pause…I truly think this is what the crux of our faith life really ought to be.
I kneel before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory
to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;
that you, rooted and grounded in love,
may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,
so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Read that carefully…
He points out the need for kneeling in awe of God.
He asks for God to send us strength and that we may feel that presence of Christ in the “inner self”–a self- aware realization of the spirit.
And he states the need that for us to be rooted (note that word) in love is not merely enough. But that this rootedness needs to be linked to the actions of God’s self-commuinication through Christ. And that this self-communicating love goes beyond our comprehnesion–but that the knowledge of Christ’s love is indeed what brings us fulfillment.
Wonderful words…and words that I think really encapsulate the faith.
The gospel today also points out that this self-communication requires much of us–and even that God requires much of Jesus (or God demands much from Himself while on His earthly mission). God has come to be a divider and not a unifier. So some of us will not catch that self-communication…and indeed miss the message of love that God gives us and the message that we too are requried to love even those we have come to hate. A hard message indeed. Our own families may not accept that message and where does that leave us?
Jesus indeed seems sad…but yet he’s forceful and almost resigned to the fact that not all of us “get it.” So while divisions are inevitable..they don’t have the last word. God does seek unity and want to save us all. And still, despite that knowledge, we do a good job of pushing God away.
Today’s readings can be found at:
Ephesians is considered to have actually been written by a colleague or follower of Paul’s because it lacks the personal or familiar quality one would expect him to have with the people he knew in Ephesus. Although referred to as the letter to the Ephesians, you’ll notice that it lacks things you would normally find in a letter–news, personal message, intimacy.
A second note with regards to the Gospel: Divine Retribution was a key idea amongst the people of Jesus’ time. Meaning…the rich have been blessed by God and their fortune is a sign for us to heed their holiness. Jesus turned this idea upside down.
These two aspects come into play in today’s Gospel. The notion of grace is center-stage in Paul’s (or whoever wrote it) letter to the Ephesians. It is not through works alone that we are saved (another central idea of the time), but rather because God chose to love us…a free gift of God dwelling amongst us, being part of us, dying for us, and then rising to new life so that we might one day do the same.
Jesus couples this idea by berating the farmer who saves up his harvest. The message seems to be “seize the day” for who knows what tomorrow may bring? But deeper is the meaning of this text.
God’s love cannot be harvested or saved up. It is simply always being used and given and will never run out. The bountiful harvest is a symbol for the love that God has for His people–a love that is overflowing and never runs out.
How does that knowledge of God’s overflowing love change us–or does it?
Do we feel the love of God and horde it for ourselves, patting ourselves on the back because we believe and often feel the love of God in our lives tangibly? Or does this love empower us to love in return…to love without limit, without stopping to make sure that we have enough love to give. Yes, the harvest is generous indeed…but are we generous enough to stop counting the cost of our own love? Or do we choose who to love and who to hate?
All the parables are inevitably about God’s kingdom. Here the kingdom of God is indeed the plentiful harvest. The resources that never run out–so indeed there is no reason for hording but rather we are encouraged to share that harvest with each other, knowing that in that sharing we are becoming more and more like the God who has led us to till the fields of our own heart in hopes that our harvest will be shared in full.