Monday, May 28, 2018

May 28 - Monday 8th Week in OT

+ The first reading for Mass today from the First Letter of St. Peter is a brief summary of what love God the Father has for us, humanity that at one point was doomed to eternal separation from him, and eternal death. But from the moment of that First Sin, God wanted to give his human creations HOPE, and imperishable hope, based on the death and resurrection of his own Son (the Word, made flesh), so that the possibility of eternal life, and bliss and happiness could be the lot of anyone who wants it. This itself is an astonishing statement really, who would not want it? who would want eternal loss and unquenchable suffering? Well, apparently some do, and will – because of God’s highest gift to mankind: free will, freedom of choice.

The Father who loves us first and always, with an unconditioned and irrevocable love, wants us to likewise, choose him – he doesn’t want to force us into a relationship with him. He trust us that much, that we will choose him – and be filled with joy as children forever.

The price we pay however, is to face a life of making good and bad choices as our fallen human nature sometimes gets in the way of our beset of intentions. And the bad choice that we and others make can bring on all sorts of trials and tribulations, from family disruptions, to major world wars and conflicts. And yet it is only by making right and good, just and merciful decisions that we can counter this relentless trend in the real world.

We remember today, Memorial Day, all those who put their lives on the line, and many of them lost them, defending these noble, just and true values and principles: the highest of which is to protect human freedom, in our own country and those of our allies and friends, or any who are in trouble.
The gospel passage talks about the rich young man who followed all the commandments of God, but was seeking still a higher goal – response to a higher calling: well, he got the calling from Jesus literally: “follow me” but if you want the pure stuff, the gold stuff, the highest experience possible of it here on earth – and in the next – get rid of your possessions, give the proceeds to the poor and then come follow me. This young man – just wasn’t ready to do that. And so he went away sad.

But I think we sell this generous and devoted young man short – if we assume that he never did come to his senses – and then do what Jesus asked – much like the Prodigal Son – and he did prioritize his values rightly, got rid of a lot of stuff that was really not essential and worthy of his spiritual quest – and then adopt a fully engaged almost monastic – specialized – kind of lifestyle – seeking God’s face – being led the God’s Son himself.

We can and ought to do the same things. Our fallen soldiers, men and women, gave their lives not so that we could have everything our little heart’s desire, and the heck with everyone else, freedom is not license – freedom is actually freedom-for, freedom for choosing what is right and good, truthful, beautiful just and peaceful – the rest is a myth – but a myth that could take down civilization if left unchecked.

May we choose rightly this Memorial Day – live in HOPE – for ourselves, our families and all strangers we meet each day. We are all interconnected in this great pilgrimage of life – we are all going the same direction, whether we know it or not – let’s know it then, and choose it, love it and live it!

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