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!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Jn 3:14-21 For God So Loved The World

Fourth Sunday of Lent
(Click here for readings)


Jesus said to Nicodemus:  "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. ...And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil."

God so loved the world.  What is there to love?  We fight, punch, pull, bite, kick and kill.  We yell, scream, shout and complain and blame everyone (except ourselves) for everything.  We are like children in the eyes of God.  And we treat God just like our kids treat us!

What is there to love about this world?  It's tough.  It's annoying.  It's constantly repeating!

So how does the Lord handle us?  Just like so many parents, He gets upset and angry with us, but remains unconditionally and hopelessly devoted to us! 

For God so loved the world!! 

There is no denying it.  Our world is upside down.  Things just don't make sense.  Take for example the Lord's parable of the tax collector and the Pharisee:

"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.  The Pharisee spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity - greedy, dishonest, adulterous - or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.  I give to the Capital Campaign and have given up sweets for Lent."  Okay, I added these last two items to modernize this parable.  But I hope you see the point.

But to make matters more confusing, we have the tax collector who stood off at a distance and did not raise his eyes up to heaven but instead beat his chest and prayed, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner."

Isn't this upside down?  Isn't this twisted?  Isn't the one who is super religious (tithes and goes to Church frequently) the good guy, and the guy who extorts people the bad guy?  Well, not according to Christ:  "I tell you, the tax collector went home justified...for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."   

St. Paul's response to all this madness is more madness!  He tells us:  "Brothers and sisters:  God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ." 

How weird!  This is all weird!  God is weird and so are we, period - no, exclamation point!

If I were God, I would probably have condemned the world long ago.  Thank God God is not like me!  And thank God God is not like our society.

OU.  Once upon a time, the Church used to be considered the #1 institution that did all the condemning.  Now, I think that title goes to our society, although a lot of people would probably deny it.  That's society for you!

Case in point:  OU (Oklahoma University).  Apparently, a young man preferred to recite his fraternity's racist pledge every morning rather than recite his Church's Creed.   Young people tend to dismiss their faith as being irrelevant.  How unfortunate. 

We all know the old saying:  "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all."  What you may not know is that this saying is a secular spin-off to today's Responsorial Psalm:  "Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget You."  It's amazing the filthy and vulgar things that can come out of our mouth when we don't have God on our mind.

This young man learned a very tough lesson the Lord taught His disciples long ago: "For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light" (Lk 8:17). 

Remorseful or not remorseful, he (and maybe his family) will be branded a racist for the rest of his life.  The Scarlet Letter has been placed on his bosom, not by Puritans this time, but by secularists, and it will never be removed.  What exactly is today's "Scarlet Letter?"  What else but the hashtag. 

I've been told that nuns used to put the fear of God in their students by saying something like "If you commit a sin you'll go to hell!"  Well, that's nothing compared to the fear of doing something incredibly stupid and sinful and having it repeated a million times on YouTube for the whole world to see.  If this isn't hell, then what is?

I find it funny how Secularists & Co. have a hard time seeing any resemblance in their unholy actions to certain unholy religious practices. 

What happened at OU could have happened anywhere.  What happened to this young man could have happened to anyone.  Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!

So what happens if I forget the Lord and open my mouth?  Is there any redemption in sight for me?  Yes, for Christ came into my life not to condemn me but to save me.  In other words, he came into my life not to euthanize me but to heal me.  How?  By humbling me.

Being humbled is not always a bad thing.  It can actually lead to great things, like remorse, compassion, empathy, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and, finally, exaltation: "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."   

College students say the darndest things.  Once upon a time, I dated a young lady who was a member of a sorority.  At that time I was already working and just getting back into my faith.  So, when I asked her what she thought about God, I was amazed at her answer:  "My sorority is my god."  Oh my Gosh!

That was the end of our conversation and the last time I ever spoke to her.  Apparently, she had more faith in the "sisters" than in The Sisters.  Looking back, I'm so grateful for her frankness, it brought me much closer to the Light.  ...Come to think of it, it seems like I've always gotten closer to God by speaking to those who were very distant from God.  How weird. 

Cinderella.  A few days ago, I went to see Disney's Cinderella.  It was absolutely beautiful.  What a timeless and true story.  True story???  Of course!  Just change the names and get rid of the imagined magic, and you have the real magical story of every person who is meek and humble of heart.  Or, as Disney would put it: "Kind and courageous."   

What are the two lessons from Cinderella?  (1) Blessed are the meek and humble of heart, and, once again, (2) "Whoever exalts themselves will be humbled, and whoever humbles themselves will be exalted."

Isn't this the goal of Lent?  To be more like Cinderella, I mean Christ?  How, you ask?  By self-denial.  By denying ourselves and learning how to make a sacrifice, which is the key performance indicator of true LOVE.  So, if my Lenten resolutions are pointing towards me and not Him, then I need to scratch them off my "To Do" list and start all over.    

Lent better be for all the right reasons, otherwise we'll end up exalting ourselves rather than exalting in the Lord. 

1 comment:

  1. We are in the land of the SECULARISTS: La France. There are many wonderful thoughts in this meditation, but the one I particularly like is that "I get closer to God by speaking to those who are were very distant to God" We feel like God has sent us to bring the Gospel of Christ to the unbelievers! T'aint easy! One must not preach. One must witness & never cower. One must remain humble and never boast. One must set an example worthy of Christ and the Saints. Oh boy! My batterie is low. Hafta send NOW!


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