Hope you are well – some things to ponder.
This Sunday’s Gospel: Luke 12:32-40
12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
12:33 Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.
12:34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
12:35 “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit;
12:36 be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.
12:37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them.
12:38 If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
12:39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into.
12:40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
You give but little when you give
of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself
that you truly give.
For what are your possessions
but things you keep and guard
for fear you may need them tomorrow?
Source: from On Giving
Up to now, we have almost entirely emphasized personal sin, with little notion of what John Paul II rightly called “structural sin” or “institutional evil.” There has been little recognition of the deep connection between the structures that people uncritically accept and the personal evil things they also do.
The individual has usually gotten all the blame, while what Paul called the powers, the sovereignties, and the principalities (Romans 8:38, Colossians2:15, Ephesians 3:10, 6:12) have gotten off scot-free for most of Christian history. These were his words for institutions and social systems. They have a life (and death!) of their own that is usually above normal understanding and thus eludes any honest critique. In fact, we tend to worship them as mighty and strong, and therefore always good. “Too big to fail,” we now say. We tend to demonize the individual prostitute, but not the industry of pornography at many levels. We tend to hate the greedy person, but in fact we idealize and try to be a part of the system that made them rich.
For example, people tend to support and even idealize almost all wars that their country wages. In fact, few things are more romanticized than war, except by those who suffer from them. At the same time, we rail against violence in the streets, the violence of our young people, and the violence on the news every night. We are slowly learning that we cannot have it both ways. If violence is a way to solve international problems, then it is a way to solve problems at home too. We can’t say “it’s bad here but it’s good there.”
We know how to name individual sin and evil, but we do not know how to name corporate sin and evil. We have ended up with a very inconsistent morality, which few take seriously any more or even know how to follow. That is why we need a consistent ethic of life.
Some say you’re lucky
If nothing shatters it.
But then you wouldn’t
Understand poems or songs.
You’d never know
Beauty comes from loss.
It’s deep inside every person:
A tear tinier
Than a pearl or thorn.
It’s one of the places
Where the beloved is born.
~ Gregory Orr ~