Meditation is an ideal way to pray. Using God's word (Lectio Divina) allows me to hear, listen and reflect on what the Lord wants to say to me - to one of his disciples - just like He did two thousand years ago.
The best time to reflect is at the beginning of the day and for at least 15 to 30 minutes.
Prior to going to sleep, read the Mass readings for the next day and then, in the morning, reflect on the Meditation offered on this website.
I hope these daily meditations allow you to know, love and imitate the Lord in a more meaningful way.
God bless you!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Mt 5:20-26 God Loves the Loser!

Mt 5:20-26 God Loves the Loser!

(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.”


We all know that God loves everyone. We all know that. But what we may not know is that God loves just a little bit more the sinner. After all, who did he dine with? Who did he go looking for? The Lord was known by all to love sinners. He was often found speaking to them and dining with them. In many of his parables, he speaks about ‘them’. He even once described a “Good Shepherd” as someone who leaves behind the ninety-nine pretty, popular, strong and buff sheep to look for the lost one. That’s a good Shepherd??? You bet!


Today I noticed something. The word loser may not be related to the word lost, but it definitely is similar to it!


“You say, ‘The Lord’s way is not fair!’ Hear now, house of Israel: Is it my way that is unfair, or rather; are not your ways unfair” (Ez 18:21-28)!


The Lord does not seek the death of the wicked. Indeed, the Lord derives no pleasure from the death of the wicked. Instead, he rejoices when a sinner turns from his evil ways. Thus says the Lord, “If [the sinner] keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him” (Ez 18:22).


That’s God’s way. What exactly are our ways? We all know the answer to that question. If someone virtuous turns away from virtue and commits a sin, we forget all the good that person ever did and mark and condemn them for life!


What exactly are our ways? It’s easy to see. Just look at the way we play sports. Our ways are not fair at all. Your team could be winning in Basketball the entire time and then, in the last three seconds of the game, you lose! Does the fact that you were winning the vast majority of the time mean anything? No. You could be in the lead for eight hours in the Boston Marathon and then trip, fall and lose. Would it be worth anything to anyone that you were in the lead eight hours? Nope. Not a bit.


This truth is even truer when we consider the serious mistakes we make in life. How many wonderful young men or ladies are labeled for the longest time because of one lousy mistake they made in their life? We as a society are either unforgiving of what others do or unashamed at what we do. This is not fair at all!


The truth is: the Lord has a special place in his heart for the lost, the loser, the shameful, the sinner. We experience life from our perspective only. But for God, he sees life from every single possible perspective and from every single person. No wonder why he keeps us wondering! What will be next? Who will be saved?


What exactly is God’s way (that some would consider being so unfair)? Well, let’s get back on the basketball court. This time, we could be losing, losing, losing, losing and losing for three straight quarters and end up throwing a three point shot from mid court in the last second and WINNING the whole thing! That’s how life is too. We could be stumbling and falling, crawling and sinning all our life and end up winning eternity for life! That is God’s way! He loves the underdog, the under-rated, the cripple, the leper, the prostitute, the sinner. He loves looking for them. Why? Because when they are finally found, they have a tendency to be even better than the popular, the strong, the mighty, the beautiful, and the sought after!


“I tell you…there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Lk 15:7).


WOW!


In today’s Magnificat, Pope Benedict wrote, “Too often our fidelity is to our anger, our resentments, our gripes. They become idols for us.” Solution. Do not seek vain glories. Popular people today become sick and forgotten tomorrow. The strong become weak. The idol worshipers get lost the quickest. Rest in the Lord. Trust in the Lord. Allow the Lord to stay close to you. The Lord is not competing against us. He is competing for us! I am not competing against you; I’m competing, like St. Paul, to cross the finish line and win big!

2 comments:

  1. Excellent meditation! Father Alfonse, I enjoy my cyber "lunch date" with you everyday. ;)

    I admit that I've labeled people "losers" who didn't fit my image of what a good person should be. They may have a drug or alcohol problem, chronically unemployed, or uneducated. I become cynical of these "loser people" often complaining they don't mean much to society. I think to myself, "Well, why did God put Mr. or Mrs. Loser on this earth?" What an awful, warped, unchristian way of thinking! But like Pope Benedict says our fidelity is often so wrapped around negative thinking (anger, resentment, complaining..) When we turn our thinking toward Christ's positive message and his love for all sinners, even those labeled as losers, then we truly are winners.

    Blessings,

    -Jennifer

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  2. Father Alfonse, also part of this reading is "But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment...Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
    What do you say to someone who has that brother (and sister, in my case) that I'm not reconciled with and in many ways still angry with? Not together, but in different ways navigating through a family crisis true colors were shown. And the colors were not pretty... After the crisis, I did my best to reconcile with each of them. The brother discarded what I was trying to settle and maintained a superiority complex and the sister said she was sorry for "most" stuff - but she's truly incapable of seeing who she really is and how hurtful and manipulative she can be. She truly is not willing to ever go where she needs to go within herself to change. My brother will never change.
    Thus, my heart has been torn for so long now as to the sadness of losing both of them in ways I'll never get back (or the realization I really never had what I thought I had with them). Things are forever changed and it's been crushing to know that the only way to "reconcile" with them is to submit to their (what I feel) is warped sense of superiority and "their greater wisdom" as I am the younger sibling. Through this process, I carry anger.. Anger for things they did but also who they really are and how they hurt people I love as well as myself. I'm angry at myself for not figuring who they truly are prior to the crisis. I could have protected people they hurt... including myself.

    The crisis is over. All is done. Time has passed. And, if I were to bring any of this up again each would say "Geez, again?" and it wouldn't result in anything for the better. I offer and keep offering my anger at the alter before communion, and just when I feel like all is no longer with me the resentment and anger reappear (less as time goes on, but still there). I feel horrible and the horrible feeling of never being able to be truly "reconciled" with them hurts deeply... plus I do fear the part in this same reading "Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny."

    I want to pay all my pennies now and move on. How do I do that? Plus, this was a crisis situation. How do I know how much of this is me? I make mistakes, lots of them... My mind and heart were so crushed during that time I'm sure I made mistakes too. How can I reconcile what I don't remember through exhaustion and high emotions?
    I carry this sadness... how do I make it go away and be at least right with God if not my siblings.... ?

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