Friday, March 25, 2016

The cross of love...

"When Jesus had received the wine, he said, 'It is finished.' Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit."
John 19:30
It is truly a stunning thing to be there and watch as someone passes from life into death.  I have only had the privilege one time, but it was a gift to behold. One minute they are alive, the next minute they are not.  One minute they are struggling, gasping to breathe, the next minute they are at peace.  It's as if God reaches in, cradles them and carries their spirit away.  I think the key word in this scripture is "gave." Jesus gave up his spirit. No one took it from him, he voluntarily gave it up to join us in our mortality. Human beings die all the time, but Jesus gave up his spirit so he could join humanity in the one last human experience--death.  Jesus joined us in what will happen for all of us. And it's a beautiful thing.  Today, instead of concentrating on the tragedy of the cross, let's ponder and pray with the act of love that is the cross. Jesus joining with us to the end of our lives. Jesus joining us in our every bit of being human.  Love, heidi

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Let go your ego...

"We will all find endless disguises and excuses to avoid letting go of what really needs to die for our own spiritual growth...It is always our beloved passing self that has to be let go of."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Wondrous Encounters-Scripture for Lent"
Our precious little egos.  That's what we need to lay at the altar tonight at Holy Thursday liturgy. Something has to die in us for us to really be reborn in Christ. Our little kingdoms need to topple. Our crowns and long tassels need to be given away with the pants that no longer fit. The selfish part of ourselves that we keep wrapped in tissue paper and hidden under the bed finally needs to be recognized and let go.  Tonight is about recognizing our Beloved Lamb of God, who washes our feet with a towel around his waist and tells us to do the same for each other.  Tonight is about beginning the journey with Jesus to the holy cross and leaving our egos with him there.  It's not about us.  It's about others. Can we learn that (finally!) as we journey these next three days? Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Go to the edge...

 "Jesus spends little time trying to ferret out sinners or impose purity codes in any form. He just goes where the pain is."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, Sunday March 20.
If we want to imitate Jesus and how he lived and what he did, we need to do the same--go where the pain is.  Our tendency, however, is to scrutinize, judge, and evaluate the worthiness of others, before we decide to help them. That is the exact opposite of Jesus. Fr. Rohr calls it Jesus' "bias toward the bottom." Jesus knows who needs him and those are the people he hastens to serve; the Samaritan woman at the well (with her many husbands), the lepers, the disabled, the poor. He didn't come to serve the well but to heal the sick. And now, during Holy Week, Jesus, himself, becomes one of the marginalized. He, himself, is arrested, tried, beaten, and given a humiliating public execution. He goes to the furthest edge of the margins. And we must go with him--where the pain is. Blessed Oscar Romero said, "A church that does not unite itself to the not the Church of Jesus Christ." (from Give Us This Day). Jesus, we are sorry for the indifference we have toward all those you have told us to embrace. Help us to walk with you to the very edge and stay with you there. Help us to see that those suffering in our world and in our time are You.  Love, heidi  

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Two types of unification...

“You can either rally around love to unite, or you can rally around fear, gossip, paranoia, and negativity; usually symbolized by one issue or person.”
Fr. Richard Rohr, “Wondrous Encounters, Scripture for Lent"
The people of Jesus' time are found doing the second type of unification as we begin Holy Week, as they unite against Jesus. They fear him and reject his calls to take care of the poor, love the unloved, welcome the stranger (Matthew 25:31-40). They will unite to kill him by the end of the week. What can we learn from this in our own time? Can we unite in love and compassion for each other or are we pulled into the negative unification of fear, paranoia, negativity and hate? Is anyone out there uniting people in Jesus’ love? I see Pope Francis, certainly, uniting people in love, especially in the vein of Jesus’ preferential option for the poor.  I also, unfortunately, see the opposite type of unification—that of fear, anger, and division, and it truly sickens me.  There is such power in unification, but which type of unification do we want to be part of? Unification of love or hate? Let’s think and pray about it this Holy Week.  Love, heidi