Sunday, August 18, 2019

We are truly alive, when we share

Within your own life’s gospel story where has He revealed Himself to you?  Did you deny a ministering to yourself, and allow anger and resentment to eat away at yourself, and all your relationships are seriously affected?  I have found in 56 years of ministry all those plastic Facebook smiles is one teed off human being.  Another word can be inserted there for those who are familiar with that word.  Within your extended family where is the Suffering Christ shunned, hidden away rather than receiving the acceptance necessary for the journey into healing?  Under the disguise of the unplanned pregnancy, the divorce, the different forms of addiction and compulsions, etc., etc.    The Suffering Christ is hidden waiting for compassionate eyes to discover, embrace, and be ministered to?  Compassionate eyes are gifted to us as the result of our personal journey through the Paschal Mystery.  As some person wrote "there is no cheap grace."  Today we are challenged to have eyes of compassion for the gay son and daughter.  Theirs is a frightening statistic for us to reflect on as we see the number of suicides, and attempted suicides among the transgender community.  These boys and girls, teens and young adults, men and women are not just a name or a number they are actually our brothers and our sisters in whom God has chosen to reveal The Awe-full-ness of Presence.  We need our lenses not tweaked but really seriously adjusted so as to be able to see beyond.  In this new ability to see we will discover to our amazement The God of Surprises in an ever-changing disguise.  Sad to say there are those, who because of hardened hearts, need a whole new set of glasses.

Thank God this last Advent-Christmas-Epiphany Season The Holy Family was revealed in the immigrant family as never before.  How very sad it was to read of the push back by so many self proclaimed followers of The Suffering and again Crucified one.  Let us not say we are going to pray for The Suffering Christ but actually take a concrete action to alleviate actual pain, and suffering.  Whatever we DO for the least ones, as they are encountered by us on our journey, we are doing to The Living God Incarnated anew. The Incarnation is a mystery.  Mysteries in the spiritual realm are never solved.  All that happens is we are drawn ever new, by The Holy Spirit, into the challenging depth realities of the mystery to be enlightened for a more vitalized way of living.  This new living will not be in isolation but in an ever more exciting communal living.  We are called to be members of the whole human family.  This is NOT new age.  When we take the theology of The Mystical Body and make a depth reflection on what it really says to us, we the many will now join the few.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

We are truly alive, when we share

The names of the many martyrs of today do not hit the headlines.  I did read that 125 conservationists have been killed so far this year (2019). Did that hit the evening news? Are we aware that this is happening in our world? 125 men and women in different countries prepared to sacrifice their lives so we all can live in a world that has a future. Blood-shed it seems is always to be the price that must be shed so that life can happen.  Jesus, The Christ, shed His blood so that we can have life and have it to the fullest.  Are we not called, chosen to follow in His footsteps. Where He has gone we as followers are to follow, Calvary is our destiny if the resurrected life, the fullness of life is to be ours. Our inside journey leads to our awakening to a reality beyond our imagination.  We are led into the realm of WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!  It is hard and difficult work to become who we really are.  It takes "reckless courage," a courage we have because we have chosen and strengthened to journey beyond the limits of our inherited humanity.  This journey has captured the imagination of the artist and so we are provided with so much inspiring food.

Monday, August 12, 2019

We are truly alive, when we share

My middle name is Irenaeus.  In Greek it means "man of peace."  I was named after my uncle, Fr. Tim O'Sullivan O.F.M. cap. (He restored the Old Mission in Santa Barbara). St. Irenaeus has been a hero if mine. His quotation:  "The glory of God is the human person fully alive" is one of my all time favorite quotes.  This is so easy to say, but becoming the lived reality is a whole other story.  Actually this process of becoming alive is in reality each of our life's story.  It is not only our life's story, it is actually, our gospel.  A gospel to be reverenced while alive, and celebrated in death.  In the funeral homily I always, well let's say more often than not, I encourage the families to have a written record of the life's journey whose life we have gathered to celebrate, in The Mass Of The Resurrection.  This written record is to be placed next to the family Bible, with the inscription, "The Rest of the Story" (A salute to Paul Harvey).  The title could also read, "The story continued." Each life IS the contemporary gospel written by today's human beings for the society of today which is the foundation of tomorrow's world.  We must face that reality.  Our lives are the gospel of today and the inspiration for the generations yet to come. May they be many. "O God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beauty-full, awe-full it is."

To paraphrase what I have read: "we must come to realize, a process, that this very body, with its many aches and pleasures is exactly what we need to be, wait for it, fully human, fully awake, and fully alive." What an exciting relevant gospel, under the guidance of The Holy Spirit, can be written. Here is an awe-full, wonder-full though as I write my gospel, with my every thought and action, do I have the future generations in mind, or am I just thinking of me, me and more me. In the I, I, I, there is no room for the living God.  Our egocentric ego rules that out. E.G.O. means Ease, God, Out.  And we are today living the reality of where there is so much talk about God, but there is not very much action that shows we are actually living The Good News.  As they say "talk is cheap," there is a price to be paid for the action.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A wounded wanderer wonders at the mystery of life!!! Part 2

In the dying, there is laid the threshold over which we all step so as to enter "new heavens and new earths" which is another way of saying, we experience "new freedoms and new happiness."  This is an never ending process which tenderizes our hardened hearts and results in having hearts of flesh.  This is what it means to be alive.  To life with a heart that reach out and touch with empathy, and compassion, not in judgment and condemnation those still hurting hearts which are placed before us on our life's journey.  We have been CHOSEN to be the present day Good Samaritan.  To pour the oil of mercy which we have received into the wounds of the suffering sister/brother and so bring the healing, comfort, soothing, strengthening necessary for a return to full health.  There is a healing not a curing!!!

That original Good Samaritan must have known and been transformed by great pain, great loss, great sorrow so as to be able to overcome the accepted prejudices and hatred and be able reach out and touch the untouchable enemy.  You and I are called to no less.  We too are challenged to look beyond the accepted hard-hearted prejudices of our present day death-dealing heartlessness.  We have been CHOSEN by our Confirmation to be present day prophets.  We must dare to speak truth to power, and be prepared to pay the price, which you most certainly will. Be assured that whatever the challenge life offers the strength to meet that reality ALREADY lies within.  In the old days we called that actual grace.  We all need to re-rededicate ourselves the radical message of The Gospel, not the gospel created for human convenience.  No amount of lawyering can get around the challenge of Matt 25.  Jesus did not put any preconditions on it's radical challenge.  We as a society are to be judged on how we respond to the needs of the poorest of the poor.  Thank God there are those who are prepared to go against the heartless norms set by humans to reach out and not just meet the present day Suffering Christ but minister to His many needs. Let the many join the few!!!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

A wounded wanderer wonders at the mystery of life!!!

This is invitation to journey with me down memory lane.  This lane is getting longer by the moment, and I hope it will continue to meander for some time yet.  When that final step will be taken, the last breath drawn is not for me to decide.  My body will say I have brought you this far, aided by grace, now is the time to rest, and rest eternal.  Until then there are steps to be trodden. Leading to where? The place of that last step is life's mystery to be entered into one step at a time and leading to a life lived one moment at a time.  Thank you God that You have allowed me to allay one of my greatest fears.

Over the years I have read these sorrow-full words of warning; how sad it would be to meet death without ever having lived.  I have reflected on those words and asked, will this happen to me? Will I allow the wish of The Rabbi Jesus to become reality for me, "I have come that you will have life, and have it to the fullest." This "having life" is not just about existing it is about daring to live.  It is about facing life on life's terms, not blinking when the going gets tough, and shopping is not the answer. It is all about being led deeper beyond the medicators so readily available, booze, drugs, sex, food, exercise, work, sports, relationship, religion etc. to the well of everlasting strength which lies undisturbed where?  This life-giving gift is awaiting us in the last place so many of us would ever dare look for such an awe-full gift right inside of us.  Life then "is a daring adventure." "An adventure" which entails seeking and searching for "the pearl of great price," our own personal "Holy Grail." What an epic story is ours to live and write about.
In the seeking and searching I have journeyed through dark, dark, valleys, rugged hills and barren parched deserts. (My many, many visits to Calvary leads to a greater emptying out and a deepening crying out, "My God, My God why have you abandoned me.") That prayer of desperation and abandonment really works!!!)  I have been guided to lush mountain meadows carpeted with blazing colors of those oh so shy flowers.  The crackling silence is disturbed only by the joy-full sound of the merry brook as it murmurs it's song of praise of The Master Painter-Gardner.  Resurrection becomes a lived reality.