Now? Here? With these people? This all seems puzzling to us, as it probably did to the disciples. They were looking for a better life, out from under the Romans. We are looking for a better next life, away from the suffering and sorrows that creep into even the finest lives here on earth. So, Jesus, what gives with your statement--"The Kingdom of God is among you?" In thinking about this, I realized that the Kingdom is not just our time spent in church. It is not just our celebration times, when things are going well and we are doing well. The Kingdom of God isn't even the times when our families are gathered and we think it just doesn't get any better. The Kingdom of God is our work-a-day lives. Hard to believe, the Kingdom is not just our time in church, but our time at the grocery store. The Kingdom is not just our time with loved ones, but strangers and even those who may irritate us. The Kingdom of God is our REAL time with REAL people. Jesus showed us that when he dined with saints and sinners alike. The Kingdom isn't something out there on another day. The Kingdom is today, in whatever we do today, whether it is in the classroom, on a bus, in an office, on a highway. We need to open our eyes to the Kingdom of God. It is on our calendar for Today! Love, heidi
"And when he saw them, he said, 'Go show yourselves to the priests.' As they were going they were healed."
One of the reflections I heard for this reading today, suggested we put ourselves in the place of these lepers. Sitting, pondering this, there I was, hurrying to show myself to the priest. Suddenly, I look down at my hands and notice they are healed of leprosy! Whoa! This is fabulous! What should I do? Well, the guy, Jesus, told me to go and show myself to the priest, so that is probably what I should do, isn't it? Maybe my staying healed is contingent on me complying with that. Or should I go back and find Jesus again? Well, the priest will know what I should do so I will stay the course. Now, I'm not defending the lepers here, at all, and I know the gist of this story is gratitude--a lesson I need to relearn daily. But, after putting myself in the sandals of these lepers, I'm not going to point at them and say, "Wow, I sure would have done better than you guys! Didn't you know you should have returned to thank Jesus?" Come to think of it, I'm going to try not to judge anyone harshly today...I could, so easily BE them. Thanks be to God on this Hump Day! Love, heidi
"Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"
I had the time to really study and ponder this yesterday and it was fascinating to me. Reading about Jesus doesn't mean we know Jesus. I have read so much about Abraham Lincoln, but that doesn't mean I know Abraham Lincoln. (I have high hopes for that in heaven, but that is another Heidi-Gram!) We can read and reread the New Testament cover to cover but that doesn't give us the experience of knowing Jesus. And we need to know Jesus. How do we experience Jesus? Fortunately, unlike Lincoln, Jesus can enter into our lives and make himself available for us to experience him. As I have grown on my spiritual journey, I can see that happen more and more. I seem to experience Jesus in many different situations; alone, most certainly, but also while gathered with friends, in the midst of nature, celebrating the Eucharist in community, snuggled under the covers in bed. To know Jesus and experience Jesus is to love Jesus. We can read all about him, but we need to have the experience of Jesus as companion and friend, not just a character in a book...although it IS an excellent book! Let's think about our relationship with Jesus as we go through our Tuesday-that-feels-like-Monday! Love, heidi