Friday of the Thirteenth Week In Ordinary Time
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The Pharisees saw this and said to his [Christ’s] disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” He heard this and said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”
There are two types of people in the world and they are not the rich and the poor. Honestly! I truly believe this. I know this to be true. No one is thoroughly rich. No one is thoroughly poor. We can be both rich and poor, and poor and rich.
I personally know that wealth and poverty can create the same miseries, for they both tend to distract us from what we have to what we don’t have. So what two types of people are there in the world? They are repentant sinners and non-repentant sinners.
Repentant sinners differ from non-repentant sinners for they tend to focus not on what they have or do not have but rather on who they are.
I did not come to call the righteous. Kids learn a lot when they go on mission trips. I learned a lot when I went on my first mission trips. First and foremost we learn to appreciate who people are rather than what they have.
Recently, a group of young high school girls from Ursuline went to Belize to do some missionary work. They were surprised by the faith, joy, love and sacrifices of the people from this poor Central American country. I spent a few hours one morning listening to a couple of them recount how these simple people from a small village changed their views and their lives.
One young lady was amazed at how mature the children were and how strong their faith was, especially given the fact they had so little. They were not ignorant little kids. On the contrary, they knew what they were missing. But they also were not ignorant in thinking that the missionaries had it all.
One day, one of the missionaries was teaching about Scripture and Tradition. She asked a young girl what traditions her family had. She asked them if they drove to Church every Sunday. The little girl looked up and said, “We don’t have a car.” The missionary felt horrible for having asked such a question, so she began to tell this little girl how, in America, they had everything but were not necessarily happy. The little girl listened but was not very impressed by her teacher’s reasoning. She looked up at her and said, “I know America is very big and rich, and Belize is very small and poor, but don’t be sad. I’m very happy to live here. This is my home. This is where my family is. I love my country.”
This young lady couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She gave the little girl a big hug. Little did this little girl know what she had done for her!
In many ways, I sense the Lord felt perfectly at home with sinners. This is a mystery. How can it be? How can God, the God of all righteousness, be at home in the house of sinners?
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. That’s the answer! He desires mercy. Isn’t that what we all desire? When I think of mercy, I think of understanding. To be understood as to understand?
The God of the Gap. Now this is a clever little saying said by atheists. It means what science has yet to explain, believers explain with God. But the rationale behind this saying has nothing to do with science but everything to do with being an atheist. After all, who came up with the Big Bang? A priest. Who is considered the Father of genetics? A priest. Just Google “The Father of the Big Bang theory” or “The Father of genetics.” See what you get. Hint: Two Catholic priests.
Faith and Reason. Atheists, who insist on science and reasoning alone are similar to Protestants who insist on faith alone. They are as fundamentalist as fundamentalists get. They are more related to each other than they think, for they are both taking the guts out of reality, out of human life, and creating an enormous gap within us! As one is attempting to take our humanity and reduce it to mechanics, the other is taking our salvation and turning it into a formula that must be said. Hence all that is true is only that which is measurable or audible.
So on one end, there is the "God of The Gap." On the other, the “Science of the Gap!” Each are trying to replace the other. Each are trying to reduce the other, and the result will be the elimination of man.
Catholics believe that both faith and reason are necessary to explain the dynamics of human life! What both groups do not understand is that by emphasizing one and eliminating the other, they minimize so much of human reality, such as philosophy, religion, human experiences, subjectivity, morality, politics, customs and traditions, dances and parties, friends and neighbors, humor and lightheartedness, poetry and music, art and fashion; that is, everything that is not quantifiable or measureable, but yet very human.
It will take much more than just the scientific method (or faith and Scripture alone) to understand human life and destiny.
Imagine for a moment if someone said “Bill = his genetics + food” or “Bill = Faith alone.” Oh my goodness! Is that it? Is it that simple? Of course not. Can you see a big gap here? Of course. There’s a gaping hole in his life! Now, it isn’t that he needs to fill it with God or with science. No, that’s not his problem. The problem is that in order to make his life appear simpler, we have gutted him of everything! Bill already has God and science in his make-up.
Bill = his genetics + “environment” (which includes not only planet Earth, but also neighbors + friends + enemies + education + experiences + upbringing + travels + girlfriends + more and more) + decisions + faith + so many other things that are not even measureable or predictable, for we cannot even say that bad neighbors necessarily produce a bad kid, or that a great education will undoubtedly produce a moral person.
Life is not fair; it is unpredictable and not easily measureable (except in the days of our lives). Human life is weird, for we don’t get much satisfaction of having more and giving less, or from thinking ourselves always right. The Pharisees and Scribes thought they were always right and look at how miserable they were!
Life is complicated. Most people don’t like the most likely to succeed. Instead, they prefer the underdog! Why is that? Equation please??? I know that who I am is made up of a million variables, with faith being a big part of me.
God is in the gap, but only because we won’t let him back into the equation!
However, we know the Lord loves to play the underdog. We know the Lord got more pleasure out of one person who converted than a hundred who were “perfect.” Why is that? Why are we so much like Him??? Time to read Genesis and understand the depth of his poetry!
Well, we all know we get more satisfaction out of life when we help others; that is, when we sacrifice for others. God is love. He sacrificed himself for us. Love fills the void in our lives. God fills the void in our lives. He satisfies the hungry heart.
We also know that rich young missionaries feel happy and at home when they spend two weeks among the poor. It’s simple: We love opportunities to love. No wonder why the Lord spent so much time with those in need.