Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Have you ever wondered about the true significance of this story? We seem focused on the mundane, for instance the first comment I hear from women are "well, where was the man? It takes two to tango... blah, blah, blah" or the younger set always wants to know "what did Jesus write in the sand?"
The true lesson wasn't about the role the man played in the act of committing adultery or why we need to know what Jesus wrote and if it was significant. The lesson is about judgment. Remember, Jesus tells the woman, "Nor do I condemn you, go and sin no more." He was acknowledging her sinfulness but not condemning her. Our true judgment will come for us when we go before God at our own final judgment. The Pharisees were trying to test Jesus on the Law of Moses and the Israelites, yet Jesus turns the tables on them. He reminds us we will be measured as to how we measure. For some it will be a harsh call. For the woman's accusers it was a humbling and pointed statement with regard to their own sinfulness. What is also interesting to note is that the accusers walked off before they heard Jesus' words of admonition. They were only baiting him, they could have cared less if the woman was stoned to death for her sin or not. For them the "fun " was over, Jesus was not going to play the game.
From the guilty to the innocent. The next day's reading brings us to Susannah, innocent yet accused of adultery and brought to judgment before the King. Susannah was spared because of her faith in the One, True God. It is our faith that leads us to righteousness. By our faith is reflected that which we do and the way we live our lives. Susannah had true faith and it was reflected in her prayers and in the confidence she had that God would spare her. We don't know for sure what happened with the woman caught in adultery but we are led to believe she went away with a new found faith in the One, True Christ. The woman was probably moved more spiritually because of the compassion of Christ and knew her sinfulness than if she had been stoned for the crime she had committed against the Law of Moses and died with no remorse only resentment in her heart for what she might have seen as an injustice.
If we pay close attention, woman will play a major role in the coming readings of the Gospel. It will be the women who watch and wait for Jesus during his Passion as well as on Resurrection Morning in the garden. It will be the women who get the "news" first, it will be the women who will keep the faith. Watch and wait for it...
Sunday, March 14, 2010
The Prodigal Son is about so much more than returning to God and seeking forgiveness. God gave us an incredible gift in our intelligence. He trusts us to use our intellect for the good of all mankind. We are given this higher intelligence to make choices that are in alignment with what God wants for us. Ironic that when we speak of beings with higher intelligence we usually refer to aliens from outer space...just sayin'.
It's comforting to know that if we mess up because we have chosen that which goes against the will of God we can come back and seek forgiveness. We know God will forgive and with His grace grow in wisdom and knowledge. God wants us to choose for the good, He wants our choice to be a loving choice. We are all prodigal sons and daughters. As we learn from our sinfulness, hopefully we see the wisdom of God and we come to know what is the good, our good as well as the good for others.
As the father in the parable allowed the son to make his choice, God allows us to make our choices. It is up to us to think about what the consequences of those choices will be. Too often we don't see beyond the immediate gratification of our wants, we don't look at the big picture of who the choice affects. We are too influenced by "if it feels good, do it" mentality. Sometimes there will be difficult choices that bring pain. The father most probably felt pain knowing it wasn't going to end pretty for the son, but he let him go anyway. God experienced much pain giving up His only Son for the sinfulness of others, yet He did it out of love for us, His children of Creation. This could be the perfect example of "divine tough love". No parent wants to see their child hurting or in pain, yet there will be times a parent has to let the child learn by experiencing the pain. It's how we grow, it's called life.
We as parents can then be there to welcome those children home, to love them, comfort them and feel for them. What a gift we will give them, to help them build character and to watch them as they move along the journey God has called them to.