We rejoice in the “Good News” of Jesus Christ, that we are freed from sin. But, in all honesty, we would like more. We would like to be free of all pain, whatever upsets our lives. We would like to be free of sin and all the effects of sin. We would like to be returned to the status of the Garden of Eden. Happy dreaming!
Some of the tele-evangelists of the past have proclaimed this message. They believed Jesus saved us from sin, from sickness, from poverty. They proclaimed that a true believer would not get sick. All this in the face of 100% mortality of all believers. Their advice: Do not ask God for a Cadillac; tell him what color you want! Christ died to make us all rich. Happy dreaming!
Christ promises his followers nothing but His cross.
Feelings are a part of life. Painful feelings are a part of life. They are not sinful; they are not virtuous. They are just real. They are good or bad, depending on what we do with them.
I think painful emotions can be a gift from God. They indicate that God sees a problem in us that needs to be faced. Bad feelings like fear, resentment, anger, are like a high temperature. They let us know that something is wrong inside.
Painful emotion is they way that God gets our attention. In the face of emotional pain, we cannot just moan and groan. We must look inside. God is trying to tell us something.
Painful emotions are not a punishment. If we use them right, they can be a gift, - like everything in life.
Fr. James O’Leary
“If salt were to lose its savor, how can you restore its taste.”
In these words from the Sermon on the Mount, we see Christ outlining our problem today in proclaiming the message of Christ. We have heard it all before, so-ooo many times. It is all stale; it has lost its savor. So, I think, that is the problem. What is the solution? How do we restore its flavor?
I can suggest two ways to make the Word of God mean something to us today, to give it taste in a world gone flat. For one, we could clear our minds and listen to God’s Word as if for the first time. Could I pretend that I have never heard this before. If that were true, how would the first hearing effect me? I might be astonished, I might be comforted, I would certainly be impressed with the love of God. I think that I can get in that “for the first time” state of mind. I would have to cut out all the other voices that have described the love of God as conditional on my actions. This might be a great experiment, to cut thru the static and hear only the pure unadulterated voice of Jesus.
Secondly, we could hear the Words of Scripture as a personal message. Jesus is not giving a message to the whole human race. He is speaking only to me. He is speaking of His love for me. He is speaking of His hopes for me. When it is personal, I always listen. It is never stale.
Fr. James O'Leary