Reflection for December 14, 2012

There’s just no pleasing some people. John came following the way of the ascetic, and the people found fault with that. Jesus came “eating and drinking,” and the people found fault with that.

Of course, they weren’t really finding fault with the fact that Christ ate and drank, nor with John for abstaining from all but simple foods. They found fault with the message and so sought to discredit the messenger. Are we really so very different today?

John and Jesus each in their own ways called the people to repentance… but many didn’t want to repent. For many, the ideas presented by John and by Our Lord were too radical. Too extreme. Too unwelcome. Loving God and neighbor; forgiving those who wrong us. These are impossible to accept for those who have no joy.

But wisdom is vindicated by her works. For those who choose to see, the evidence is plain. The life to which we are called in Christ is one of happiness and of joy. And yet there are those who try to destroy our happiness and steal our joy.

Of course, as long as we are anchored in Christ, they can’t do that; it’s a notion I find very comforting when the powers of the world seem arrayed against me: as long as Christ is my rock, they can never take my joy.

Reflection on Isaiah 41:13-20

I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand;
It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”
Fear not, O worm Jacob,
O maggot Israel;
I will help you, says the LORD; your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and double-edged,
To thresh the mountains and crush them, to make the hills like chaff.
When you winnow them, the wind shall carry them off
and the storm shall scatter them.

But you shall rejoice in the LORD, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah

The prophet Isaiah speaks powerful words; the Lord will not forsake us. Though we find ourselves parched with thirst and unable to satisfy our longing, in the Lord we will find our answer; in the Lord, our thirst is quenched.

God promises to make the barren desert fertile and that He will cause springs water to flow there; recall that in Christ’s crucifixion – when the body of Our Lord hung dead on the cross and as Our Lord descended into the desert of death – the soldier drove the lance into His side, and blood and water flowed forth. Water came forth from the desert.

Of course, one cannot mention Christ’s death without immediately thinking of His resurrection. In the resurrection, the desert of death was transformed into a fertile land of salvation. “I will plant in the desert the cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive;” the prophet writes. “I will set in the wasteland the cypress, together with the plane tree and the pine.” What Isaiah describes in terms of many diverse trees growing together we realize in the diversity of the people of God; all nations are called together in Christ.

And we, as a part of the people of God, are united in one family in Christ. In His death and resurrection, we “see and know, observe and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this; the Holy One of Israel has created it.” We are called into one in Christ; through the waters of Baptism and the waters that flow from His side like springs in the desert, we – though afflicted and needy – do not seek water in vain. The Lord will not forsake us.

Reflection for December 12, 2012

As we move through Advent and toward Christmas, it is good to reflect on our Blessed Mother. How fortunate are we to have, in Mary, such a shining example of everything that it means to be a Christian and to live a life worthy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Mary Our Mother said yes to God and trusted totally in Him; this is what every one of us is called to, in great matters and in small.

Imagine a world in which every answer given was a yes to God. Imagine a world made up entirely of people as faithful and as dedicated to the Lord as Mary. It would be a world without selfishness, without violence, without lust, without laziness; in short, it would be a world without sin.

Impossible, you say? Then imagine simply a world in which every person lives always as if every moment was Christmas morning, and they truly desired – for the love of Jesus – to live the life God wants for them and to behave in the same way as they behaved in their finest Christmas moment.

This is the life that Mary lived; this is the life that the Blessed Mother and Our Lord want for us. This is the life that will bring us true happiness and lead us forward toward eternal life with God, where the impossible becomes possible and where the anticipation of Advent intersects with the glory of Christmas.

AN OPEN LETTER TO ARBY’S

Dear Arby’s:

I understand that you are deeply fascinated by and appreciative of your meat slicers, and while I respect that love you feel I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that fresh-sliced roadkill is still roadkill, no matter how freshly it is sliced.

Have a fresh-sliced day.

Sincerely,
Richard

AN OPEN LETTER TO BARBARA WALTERS

Dear Babs:

Honey Boo Boo is not one of the most fascinating people of 2012. She is the tragic yet unavoidable result of the feelings of schadenfreude emanating from tens of millions of desperately miserable Americans and is a sure and certain sign that Western civilization is crumbling around us.

Just thought you should know.

Sincerely,
Richard