Luke 13: 10-17 Crippled
Every morning a beautiful little angel sends me a text message to cheer me up, to brighten my day. This angel of God wrote a few days ago, “Today, preach with the heart and not with the mind. The heart will make your homily resonate in the hearts of the people and get God’s word out. And the word is out: Love is a universal language that everyone can understand. Unfortunately, not all care for it. In fact, some actually deny it, even while they are seeking to be loved.”
Not bad for a child. Not bad for a young child that has gone through a lot of pain and suffering. It seems as though the closer we get to God, the more painful the journey becomes. I can understand how being away from God would make life extremely painful. I know, without the Lord, I could not survive. I would become a human animal: selfish, lustful, greedy, self-seeking, manipulative, destructive. But what I cannot understand is why the closer I get to God, the more pain I feel, the harder it gets? After all, when Jesus approached the sick, the crippled, the possessed, there was an immediate release of pain, of misery and of love!
The woman, who was crippled for eighteen years, finally had arrived to her destination. She saw Him and He saw her! There was nothing left between them. The mountain always gets steeper as the climber reaches the top. The air becomes thinner as he approaches the summit. The hike is much more demanding, considering it is the longest length traveled. To reach Heaven, I have to remember that I must navigate through rough terrain and carry a burden that is not negotiable: my adversaries. What and who are my adversaries? Those things that I hold so dear to me (close to me) and those things I despise (I keep pushing away from me)!
“Behave like God as his very dear children…Live as children of the light. (Eph 5:1,8) Live as children of the Light: Light is light. That is, unburdened. Make your life a gift. Give your life to others. Carry nothing with you – no pride, no vanity, and no comforts. Allow the Lord, and only the Lord, to use you. Yes, use you. To be used by the Lord is to be loved by the Lord, the heart’s greatest and deepest desire. If lonely, do not be afraid. Go and give your time, your talents, and your faith to another. If afraid, do not be afraid. Go and share your inmost thoughts, your darkest fears, in Confession. If you do not like the way you look, then stop looking at yourself and look at others – see their needs more than your own. “It is better to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). How will I ever know this if I never experience this? Go and give! Find out for yourself, once and for all, if it is true. If it is all true! The Acts of the Apostles was written for me. It is what I must do. After all,
Am I not an Apostle? I received everything they received, and more. “Truly I say to you, he who puts his faith in me will do the very works which I do, and he will do greater things” (Jn 14:12). The Lord does not mind that we do one better than Him. He would love it!
What is the simplest way to live life? By loving! I have been ridiculed on numerous occasions by giving the homeless or the vagabond money from my pocket. They say I was suckered. They are probably right. But I prefer to be suckered than to suck as a priest (excuse my expression). I prefer to be used, than to be tight on some change.
And so our mountain gets harder to climb. The life of a Christian gets harder to live because as we reach our final destination the weight of the world, the force of gravity, the negativity that dominates – surrounds us - begins to take its toll on our weakened estate. And then there is the unexpected: the Cross upon my shoulders. Once again, the Lord leads the way to the Father’s house. My Father’s mansion and my room have been prepared for me. They await my arrival. The view will be magnificent. The bed and quilt will be better than ever just because of the exhausting and difficult journey I have traveled. The rest I will receive will be worth all the effort.
There is nothing greater than to love and be loved regardless of how crippled I have become! It just makes it better!