Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gotta Play by the Rules

We have heard a lot this past week about deflated footballs as we near the big game, the Super Bowl.  Regardless of opinion to the culpability or even the consequences of alleged cheating,  rules are rules.  If your going to play, you accept the rules.  If your going to be a Christian, you also accept the rules.  Football will bring millions of dollars to some, Christianity will bring eternal life to all who commit.  Like the call to the disciples in the gospel,  we too have been called. The question is have we truly answered our call?  Have we committed to play by the rules?  The rules given to us by no less than Jesus Christ himself?  The rules to love and care for each and every one as neighbor? Of course we have not. All is not lost though as Jesus knew we would fail from time to time. As in the gospel. We are constantly called to repent and to recommit…commit to following His gospel.  Following it means living it to the best of our ability.

I had the privilege to visit our middle school kids from our two parishes this past Wednesday.  They have been learning about evangelization.  For most of them as it is even to me the word itself is a mouthful. The root goes back to the ancient Greek meaning to bring the good news. Even the word angel, in the word evANGELlization is the one who brings the message itself. And as we know angels are God’s messengers.  So evangelization in a Christian sense is to bring the good news of Jesus Christ. The “Good News” is proclaimed each and every time we live His teaching. The gospel is lived when we commit to living our calling. And we must live our calling while we are here on this earth.

Paul was warning the people of Corinth that life on earth has limits.  We are all going to die so why not at least live this limited time in the vocation one has chosen….  He was inviting people to Christ and also challenging those who claimed to be following Christ that the time to follow was now. BTW, he is not saying that married life is somehow less God-pleasing than unmarried life; he is challenged those who are married to live their married life as we all are to live our lives; in total union with Christ!  Remember where he was, Corinth and he saw lots of debauchery and since most folks were partnered up, at times looking like marriage, and at other times living in total sin, he was only calling them back to what Christ had already said about marriage.  An inseparable union. Committed first to Christ and through Christ then to the other, our universal calling that is modeled in much of the union of husband and wife. A union with the Lord that is lived each and every day, and here on earth now.

This week we are reminded of the importance of human life, especially the lives of the unborn. We can gather together once a year to proclaim our commitment to life, or we can actually commit to life each and every day as the kingdom of heaven has already begun and is to be lived  each and everyday. Those are the rules of being a Christian. Not to try to change the rules but a total and not-too-easy commitment to following them. The kingdom begins with the cross on earth and we all share in the cross. But the cross also leads to new life through mercy, and conversion of heart.

Like Peter, Andrew, James, the Marys, Martha and all the women and men who committed to following Jesus' call; as baptized Christians we have all been called to live the gospel.  That means we accept Jesus teachings as He has taught us himself.   Even the most celebrated saint and evangelist also had to repent and begin again.  They too had to be reminded that to follow Christ, one has to play by his rules.  Can we?


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