Thursday, October 23, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Jesus says that the greatest commandments are love God and love your neighbor. He concludes by saying "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." In his day the phrase "the Law and the Prophets" referred to all of the official Jewish holy books. (The official list of holy books did not yet contain what we call the Wisdom books.) What God wills is love. Every other command and obligation must be judged by asking ourselves if this is the most loving thing to do.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Jesus almost shrugs off the question about paying taxes to Rome and says, in effect, "Let me tell you what really matters. You are stamped with the image of God. Are you giving yourselves back to God?"
Christianity has gotten off track by linking religion almost exclusively to moral behavior. It is certainly important that we behave ourselves. But it is nowhere near as important as growing in our faith conviction that our God loves us and desperately wants us to love him.
The Gospel of Jesus is not about being good or bad.
It's about being loved.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Yesterday was the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, a great mystic and teacher of prayer. I think of a mystic as someone who has a direct relationship with God, without much of an intermediary. One analogy Teresa uses to help us understand this is to compare two troughs. One is filled with water that comes from far away through many aqueducts with much effort. The other is filled from a spring right by the trough without any noise or anything artificial. The spring is abundant and the water overflows once the trough is filled, forming a large stream. Water is always flowing from this spring.
God, like the source of this water, is welling up within us. Since God desires to do so, God produces this delight with the greatest peace and quiet and sweetness in the deepest part of ourselves.
(Click on picture to enlarge it.)
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Yesterday was the birthday of E. E. Cummings, one of my favorite poets. Of his hundreds of poems here is one of my favorites:
who are you, little I
(five or six years old)
peering from some high
window, at the gold
of november sunset
(and feeling that if day
has to become night
this is a beautiful way)
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
"Whose image," Jesus asks, "is on the Roman coin with which the tax is paid?" Tiberius Caesar's. "Give back to Caesar what belongs to him." "Where do we find God's image?" On humankind, indeed on all of creation. "Then give yourself and everything else back to God."
Not a formula for separation of church and state. Everything belongs to God.