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John's Jottings

13th Sunday in OT, 2018

 

“God did not make death,” “But by the envy of the devil death entered the world, and they who belong to his company experience it.”

 

Once there was a world in which all things were ordered by God, there was no death, no pain, no addictions, no mental illness or cancer. A quiet peace and a great amount of joy was the everyday norm. In this world God would come and spend the cool of the evenings walking and talking to the people in the world.


God created people to be free to love Him and I am sure it was very difficult for him to also give them the freedom not to love Him and yet how else could they truly be free like Him. He made these people in His own image and likeness which made them very powerful. They could be friends with all the animals, to hear the music of the woods and deserts. This is how God wanted to be with his creation and isn’t that what we want, really.

 

But…Satan was so jealous because he had been kicked out of heaven by that same God who was walking and talking with the earth people. Those people seemed so… so happy. They did not know what pain was, and sorrow was, they did not know evil. Besides that, it looked like God loved his new creatures better than he. So, every day Satan too, would walk and talk with the earth people, gaining their trust. He knew about their freedom to love or not and that they were created in Gods image and likeness, and he encouraged them to even be more powerful then they were. He reminded them they were godlike, but not quite God and all they had to do was disobey God just a little bit, for an unreasonable request of partaking of the fruit of good and evil. He kept telling them how wonderful the taste of evil was, remember they had never experience evil up to this point. Finally, Satan wore them down and they disobeyed God, doing something to the human heart that would have consequences up to this day, the ability to disobey God. With that choice the world was no longer the same. The world discovered evil did taste good… at first, but left a person hungry for more and more, addicted, never to be satisfied. Because of that we now live in a world where evil is alive, well and still growing.

But God promised to return, and he came back as a man, Jesus, who won over evil and death, by rising from the dead, for no evil could hold him down. The life of Jesus re-taught us how to be like the original people, how to again have an intimate relationship with God.

 

When Jesus arrived on the scene of the world, the world was full of discord. There was a separation between the ruling class or wealthy and everybody else. There was no health care, if you were not wealthy. If orphaned either sold into slavery or a life of begging without anyone really caring. There was no respect for the human person, slavery was rampant. In the Roman or Greek culture if your child was not what you expected you took him or her to the woods and let the wolfs eat them. There were no orphanages, no public hospitals, no free education. The “general” public had no rights only the ruling class had them. Religion was about many gods, some nice and others demanding animal and even human sacrifice. The one place we have not changed so much there was violence and more violence, whole tribes would and could be wiped off the face of the earth.

With the followers of Jesus came compassion and love, a looking beyond human’s status or wealth but to who the person is as a creation of God, that we are all one tribe, all brothers and sisters. The early Christians fed the hungry, took care of the sick, not caring if they were enemies or not. The orphan was given a home, Christians were decidedly countercultural. Pachomius, a 4th-centurey Roman army man left behind when he was wounded, was so astonished that Christians would care for a stranger like him that he converted and eventually founded a large monastery in Egypt.

Throughout the centuries Christians have influenced families, then towns, societies and even governments. At some point it became common practice to have public schools, public hospitals, social welfare systems, respect and rights for all people despite ethnic or wealth or family or religion, all rooted in the influence of Judeo/Christian values given to us by Jesus and his followers.

But as the writer of the Book of Wisdom says the devil is envious and still prowls about, loudly screaming threats and untruths as truths, sometimes whispering temptation and lies into the ear of our hearts, still resentful of our status with God.

 

In the 21st century fewer and fewer people in our western society have decided there is no need for religion or faith, they are believing the whispering of Satan that they can be gods, because they can control things like a god, that all things will be made good and whole through science and technology.

 

The last few Popes or so have been like the distraught father, Jairus, in the Gospel, they have been crying out that the culture, and even the Church in places seems to be on the point of death because of the sickness of lies, unbelief’s and confusion of what is good and evil. They have been calling out to Jesus to come and heal us.

 

What has happened? Personally, I see we have forgotten, again, to walk in the personal relationship with our God that Jesus so carefully set up for us. We have an advantage over the first people, we know evil and its wily ways. None the less many still choose Satan for their spiritual intimate relationship. When we no longer have an intimacy with God the Father, through Jesus Christ and the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, people die, and so often while they are still walking around. We lose our real sense of joy and peace in our hearts, just hearing whispers of darkness and hopelessness, not of light and beauty.

 

We all have a task, everyone in this Church, let us return to the garden and away from Satan, to a renewed intimate relationship with our God. The Church teaches, guides and challenges us, to act and speak as followers of Jesus Christ, to happily embrace our counter-culture life. We are to love as Jesus, not wishy-washy love, but the love of taking up the cross and this shows Satan that death cannot make us afraid in other words be fearless.

 

We must get back to our roots of the early Church to be so counter cultural that it will make people question the bad things in the culture and put a longing into people’s hearts to be healed of the lies and untruths, that they too will say “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” To allow Jesus to come into our world our society and culture and say “ koum” I say arise, live, live, live, rejoice for God wants to walk and talk to us. Our God wants to bring life into our lives not death.

 

God Bless all of you,


Fr. John, O.S.B.

 

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