Jesus said to his disciples, “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
When I was a child, I used to think that the best teachers in the world were the kind, gentle, easy and fluffy ones. Who wouldn’t? I loved the teachers that didn’t take my homework seriously; didn’t grade my exams harshly; and didn’t demand so much mentally.
But then I grew up. And I realized that I didn’t experience what I should have experienced. College and the world woke me up, brutally.
A lot of kids today wake up brutally. I recently went to a local rec. league soccer game for five year old kids. I was amazed at how things have changed. Not only could I not pronounce half of the children’s names, but I couldn’t find a score board. I then realized the problem wasn’t that the league couldn’t afford it; it was that the league didn’t want it. You see, they didn’t want the kids to win or lose; they just wanted them to have a good time playing. Out of their foolishness, the only thing this silly league accomplished was to help the kids learn mental math. I interviewed one player who appeared to be on the moon half of the time and asked him what the final score was. He said without any hesitation, “8-4! We won! And I was the best player!” That’s my boy.
Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Sounds like a cake walk, right? Wrong!
To ask, seek and knock can only mean one thing: Get moving!
"To ask” does not mean to tell God what you want but to ask Him what He wants. “To seek” can only mean it won't be placed in front of you. “To knock” means the door is closed! So, GET MOVING!
On Monday, I was asked by a teacher to give a class on “Finding God in The Hobbit.” The talk would be on Thursday. I can’t believe I said “Yes! Sure! No problem.” First of all, it has been a very long time since I read The Hobbit, and, as I was cramming information into my little brain, I was asking myself, “Why do I do this to myself! Thursday was going to be my day off!” Second, kids are no dummies. If I don’t give a good lesson, then the kids will know immediately that I don’t know what I am talking about!
So, last night I started reading and reading and reading. I began re-reading parts of this wonderful classic tale by J.R.R. Tolkien and trying to find some hidden meanings with regards to God. And then I realized the obvious…
What is the obvious connection between fairy tales and real life? Isn’t it the story and drama of our own life? What gets Bilbo Baggins into trouble? Answer: His asking, seeking and knocking! What makes Bilbo Baggins life so beautiful, amazing, wonderful, and inspiring? Answer: His asking, seeking and knocking! It is what professor Tolkien would call: “Eucatastrophe!”
I may have encountered this word while reading an essay Tolkien wrote (“On Fairy-Stories”), but I have experienced this word all my life, even today! Eucatastrophe refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story which ensure that the protagonist does not meet some terrible, impending, and very plausible doom. The word is formed by the Greek prefix eu, meaning good, to catastrophe, meaning unraveling. Tolkien calls the Incarnation the eucatastrophe of “human history” and the Resurrection the eucatastrophe of the Incarnation.
The beginning of The Hobbit starts like this, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.” Yep! That’s my life a few years ago…nice and comfortable, never ever imagining that there could be more to life than my very nice hole. The rest of the story is about how much a reluctant hero can achieve when forced out of his hole.
Who invites us (and maybe even pushes us) to get out of our hole? Christ. Who is the source of all our problems? Christ. Who is the solution to all our problems? Christ. Who makes life amazing, wonderful, thrilling, terrifying, exhilarating, and inebriating - even to the point of vomiting, causing dizziness, swelling, palpitations, exhaustion, frustration, death? Christ. Who makes death a gain? Christ.
Ask. Seek. Knock. Live.