Our pilgrimage continues.
As we walk closer and closer towards the Christmas season, we are called to celebrate and welcome the Divine Source of all creation into our daily lives. A God so immense and so full of love that she/he became human to show us the way. The two questions we ask this Sunday are:
Do we create a puny space in our lives for a puny God?
Or, do we want to create an immense, abundant space for an overflowing loving God?
And, if we choose the latter, what barriers, obstacles, or excuses do we use to limit and diminish this infinite love that is here for our taking?
Outpouring love is the inherent shape of the universe, and only when we love do we fully and truthfully exist in this universe and move toward our full purpose.
God will turn all of our crucifixions into resurrections. Look at it in Jesus, believe it in Jesus, admire it in Jesus, love it in Jesus, and let it take shape in your own soul.
In our first reading, the poet suggests that for our desire of grasping the magnitude of the world we reduce it to our measurements. Today our knowledge is often identified with the precision and efficacy of our measurements: we have defined ourselves “measure of all things.” However, our increasing desire to quantify has become a cage, a trap, a destructive circle where every common good is pressed into servitude, treated as a resource to use, to be owned, bought, and sold.
Yet there are sizes and scales that exceed our most sophisticated unit of measurement and evaluation. The poet mentions hope and compassion; we could add beauty and imagination, or joy, justice, and faith, not to mention the exuberant vitality of our planet and cosmic life, and the unfathomable divine action. Following the invitation of the poet, we want to move toward different qualities of measurements, of perceptions.
We yearn for a regenerative baptism of our minds and hearts, of our destructive and consumptive behaviors.
I invite you to widen cosmically the experience of the baptism of Jesus as an experience that embraces all of us in this birthing that enfolds the universe in all its forms.
As the baptism was for Jesus a transformative event, a widening of measurements, of consciousness, so for us it means a plunging into a reality larger than ourselves, into the deep waters of earth, cosmos, and spirit. And we emerge transformed, resurrected to a new vision of earth and cosmos as the indwelling, sacramental presence of the divine.
This brings us to our gospel. One of the guests hears all this talk about breaking bread and he tried to be super-spiritual. People do that all the time. They try to act spiritual, but all they do is reveal how unspiritual they truly are. This man basically says, “Praise God, we are going to a real feast some day!” The Jews believed that the Kingdom of God was like a feast. They believed they would sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and break bread. This fellow talked like he believed that he would be there.
Jesus used this opportunity to confront the hypocrisy of the Jews; to challenge the false confidence of those who believed they were right with God; and to teach them how the invitation to God’s feast really worked.
Surely the people who were invited to such an opulent, grand event were the cream of the crop. They were the rich and the influential, the movers and the shakers. Jesus is using this feast to illustrate the glory of God’s kingdom. For those who will attend the Lord’s feast in heaven, it will be an event so grand and so glorious that we cannot even begin to comprehend it.
And when the servant came to those who had already accepted the invitation, they began to make excuses as to why they could not attend the feast. Billy Sunday once described an excuse as “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”
Folks, no one less than the King of the universe has invited you to dine with Him in the coming kingdom. No excuse will keep you from spending eternity separated from God.
Jesus is for us the exemplar, the mirror of relatedness: he promotes wholeness toward God: he embodies a radical unity with the Holy One, with humans, and with the entire groaning creation. Seeing the ways in which all of life is connected, we are called to a conversion of consciousness, to a different kind of relationship with what surrounds us: an interactive, responsible, sympathetic, empathic, and co-creative dialogue with the earth. This relational vision of the universe invites us to become ministers of integration, bridging agents: between mind, body, and spirit; heaven and earth; feminine and masculine; big and small; past and present; science and religion; humans and nonhumans—animals and technologies; among classes, races, ages, genders, cultures, and religions.
We are invited by this new vision of our connectedness to rethink and to embody the meaning of “catholicity” as openness in contrast to what is partial, sectarian, exclusive, or selective. The emergence of a catholic dimension implies a dynamism of inclusion and universality that transcends every closure and separation; it evokes an ungraspable mystery of fullness that attracts us toward a promising future. Maybe, to become, to grow catholic as being-in-connectedness means to have care of wholeness, to incarnate a liturgy of hospitality where the church is a house for all, a field of togetherness, of mutual enhancement, compassion, and friendship. And are not the sacraments the junction, insertion, joint, and connection of our littleness, of our partiality into the infinite vastness of God’s love and wholeness, so that the ultimate reality can be all in all?