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!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Luke 4:21-30 Love and Truth

Jesus began speaking in the synagogue, saying:  “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”  And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. 
Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.  Last Sunday, we read that the Lord read a scroll from the prophet Isaiah.  When He finished reading it, he immediately identified himself with it:  “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  This Sunday, we read how it all ended:  “They rose up, drove Jesus out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.” 
Not good.
The problem with ‘us’ is that we like and respect people we don’t really know, and we expect it to stay that way (because most of us feel safe that way).  But the problem with Jesus is that He wanted people to know Him very well. Well, they didn’t like that; that is, they didn’t like what they saw and heard.  Or better yet, they didn’t like being told what God was like.
Jesus was “ruining” their “image” of Him.    
It’s true!  The Lord opened wide the doors of heaven and pulled off the mask of God and did not hide a single thing from us.  For the first time in human history, we saw God’s face, hands, feet, heart, mind and will.  We experienced His Unconditional love, a love for all mankind, even for lepers and sinners.  We even received an unexpected invitation to dine with Him. 

So what was the problem?  All of the above!  It was way too much!
The Lord did not hide a single thing from His people.  He was perfectly honest, perfectly faithful and perfectly thorough with them.  Jesus Christ revealed ‘Our Father’ and it blew our minds, especially the Jews. 
Now the problem is not with the Lord, it is with His “image”:  with us.  For when we look at Him, we look through broken lenses and mirrors:  with mud in our eyes and with a heavy heart and misguided mind.  “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror” (1Cor 13:12).    
What truly brought Christ’s popularity to an all time low was the fact that He did not confuse mud with skin.  In other words, he didn’t do what people always did back then:  hate the sin and the sinner.  Nor did He do what so many of us do today:  love the sin and the sinner.   Rather, he hated the sin and loved the sinner. 
God is capable of getting through the thickness and muck of sin and right to the child he formed long ago. “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I consecrated you” (Jer. 1:4). 
Our Savior Jesus Christ did not come into the world as the world expected Him:  as some mighty Ninja ready to chop off the hands and heads of sinners and unbelievers!  THANK GOD for that.  For most of us continue to see ourselves not as we truly are, but as we would like to be seen…and left ‘unknown’. What is clear is that the Lord did He come into the world as we would have liked him too.  Instead, he came into the world as He truly is:  Love.
“Love is patient, love is kind.  It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails” (1Cor 13:4-8).
This is not some sentimental nonsense.  This is not some blubbering gobbledygook.  St. Paul was not that kind of guy.  What St. Paul wrote are the brutal facts concerning love.  And each fact comes from the life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Replace the common noun “love” with the proper noun “God” and you will know exactly what I mean.  You will know that love never fails because love is connected to the Three Persons that never fail.
When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child. Children can be very selfish and/or possessive; the very opposite of love, which is selfless and generous.  No wonder why God (and Mary) calls us “children”!  Now childish behavior is not necessarily reserved to a certain age, nor is it necessarily overcome by a certain age.  Instead, it is overcome by a conversion of heart and mind; a change of heart and mind; a 180, in the direction of Our Father. 
I sometimes wonder if I will ever get there.
I wonder because of last night.  Last night, I thought I had been invited to the Bishop’s dinner.  I drove ALL THE WAY OUT THERE (approx. 5 miles from St. Monica) thinking I had a reservation.  I was wrong.  I had no such thing.  So, I drove ALL THE WAY back home. 
Needless to say I was upset, hungry and feeling sorry for myself.  I should probably include the fact that everyone on the road was driving far too slow and annoyingly (as opposed to me driving far too fast and recklessly). 
Now right before I got home, I stopped at a Wendy’s and ordered some fast food ‘fish’ to finish off the evening in pure agony.   At the drive-thru, I was further annoyed by the woman who taking my order.  She asked me if I wanted cheese (with my fish sandwich) right after I asked for a frosty.  I asked her if she was asking me if I wanted cheese with my frosty (I can be very sarcastic when I am feeling sorry for myself).  Regardless of my silliness, she remained calm and courteous.  When I got to the window to pay, the woman who took my order noticed that I was a priest.   I noticed she was a parishioner.  When I gave her my credit card, she told me, “No Father, this is on me.”
Earlier in the evening, I must have told at least a dozen people to read and meditate on St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 4-13.  This evening, I’m meditating on it myself. 
To love God requires the same faculties it takes to believe and hope in God.  I don’t repeat every Sunday that I believe in God because it’s difficult to believe it.  I say it because it’s difficult to realize it; to live up to it.
The same holds true with love.  I don’t keep telling someone I love them because I have a hard time believing it.  I tell them I love them because it’s hard to realize it; to live up to it.

Faith, hope and love remian, but the greatest is love.    Of all three spiritual gifts, love is the greatest and most demanding.  For it requires not only the shedding of our sins, but the giving of our skin. 
Woe to me if love is just a sentiment and not an act of the intelligence; an impulse, rather than a steady heartbeat.        

5 comments:

  1. Father, I appreciated your meditations today in many ways. It is a deep subject, one deserving of examination. I wish I had a better vocabulary, for I'm sure my words are to simple for deep thinkers who are well versed in theology. It is kind of you to post these comments we all make, I for one appreciate it very much.

    You were feeling bad as your dinner engagement was something you were looking forward to and it vanished in a haze of disappointment. But look what God gave you in place to sooth your pain. Not a gourmet meal, that's for sure, but a gourmet heart of a caring person at just the right time, when you needed a kindness out of no where, he delivered what you needed. I love it when our Lord takes the time to give us the small things we need as well as the big. It is up to us to realize he is doing this in our lives, to notice his efforts as diverse as they are to help us in oh so many ways. The older I get, the more I realize just how much our heavenly father does for us on a daily basis. So much went unnoticed when I was young.

    I believe love is in all of us, some choose to allow the seeds of love to grow, and some of us choose to rejects what a loving God has to offer us. It can only grow if we invite God to dwell in us, hopefully as a permanent, shared part of our soul. And as all parents do, he will allow our love to be given and shared to those around us, who's path crosses ours on any given day.

    Thank you father, I truly got a lot out of your meditation today, please don't ever stop.

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  2. I love this story. I love this meditation.

    But I appreciate your honesty the most.

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  3. I never thought that priests could be so human. What a consolation!!!

    Katie

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  4. Christina H,
    What you shared is beautifully stated. 50 cent words would not improve upon it at all.

    Anonymous,
    You said my exact thoughts about this meditation.

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  5. This is so inspirational! I loved it. God bless you Fr Alfonse.







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