Sunday, December 25, 2011
Come let us adore and follow...
I hope this Christmas Season especially is blessed with taking the real presence of Christ and making it a real presence for others. Be present to one another throughout life’s journeys, especially the poor, marginalized, sick, lowly and religious outcasts. This imitates Jesus, the god-man who intimately walked with such people in their daily struggles.
Rather than imitate Jesus, some lock him in a tabernacle and declare others unworthy to carry him, proclaim his messages, or receive him. They seem fearful for Jesus and try to protect him. But, Jesus does not need protection from any person or circumstance. He came into this world in extreme vulnerability - by choice. He lived in extreme vulnerability – by choice. And, he died in extreme vulnerability – by choice. Are not those who attempt out-maneuvering God by keeping Jesus from “danger” acting as foolishly as Peter when Jesus chastised him, calling him "Satan"?
Let yourselves be touched by the God who walks without fear. Fear not for God. Fear not for yourself.
When we allow ourselves to be touched by God's love overflowing for us, we are so filled, we cannot help but overflow ourselves. The abundance is more than we can contain and spills over so that all things around us soak up some of it as well. We overflow in forgiveness, generosity, compassion, and care. We accept that this same God touches with loving care those whom we fear and we cannot help but do likewise.
This is such a different message than the bishops currently preach through their words but most especially through their examples. They fear “improper thought”; they discredit and dismiss those who think such thoughts. They fear those who question; they discredit and dismiss them. They fear, vilify and dismiss people who commit certain sins. They fear people who are different and label their differences as “sin”; they vilify and dismiss these people also. They fear people who want to hold clergy accountable; they discredit, vilify and dismiss them. They fear people of different religious beliefs; they belittle and dismiss them. They fear for their personal comfort and safety. They fear secular governments. They fear politicians who disagree with them; they discredit, vilify and dismiss them. In any of these circumstances there also seems a tragic willingness to distort or dispense with facts and truth to serve their interpretation of “right” and “wrong”, all the while overlooking the blatant wrong of bearing false witness.
No wonder people flee the church. Our leaders do not proclaim the gospel, fearlessly walking in vulnerability. They preach and act in fear, toy with truth, and dismiss people. Ironically, those whom the bishops declare “least worthy” are precisely who God sent his son to touch, and that God uses as instruments to proclaim. God is that powerful. Therefore, let us not be prisoners to religious structures, laws or institutions that dilute the power of the incarnation, walking by choice in vulnerability.
It is fitting church leaders call themselves apostles since the first apostles committed these same errors, locking themselves away in fear, dismissing people they felt unworthy of Jesus’ presence, etc…. But, Jesus said the Spirit is always with us to guide and correct. Listen and have the courage to act - even if it causes disfavor with the pious, priests, bishops or the pope. Until one risks disfavor with peers and superiors, there is a very strong inclination of mistaking these humans for God. God is always still wiser and more perfect than any collection of humans.
Believe in that God who is so powerful as to be born a human infant into poverty and vulnerability, who favored and desired the least favored and desirable, and who relinquished all earthly powers, and yet triumphed. This God reigns over the pious, priests, bishops and pope. However, the god of many such people seems subject to them and their Canon Law. But, God is more powerful than any human folly of clergy. Come, let us adore and follow that God.