316: "Let your mind be blown away by unimagined possibilities!"
Day 316: January 26th 2021
"Let your mind be blown away by unimagined possibilities!"
(Jonah by Salvador Dali)
Jonah should win an Oscar as best comedian of the Hebrew Scriptures. Imagine how Charlie Chaplin would play Jonah — avoiding God, endangering a whole shipload of sailors, going overboard and finally taking a three-day nap in a whale. Nothing God did pleased Jonah; he became obedient only because it was better than the risk-ridden, fishy alternatives he had already survived.
Today's snippet about Jonah highlights his success: Jonah preached and the Ninevites — from king to farm animals — did such penance that they escaped punishment for their sins. But the Ninevites' salvation made Jonah furious.
He had been punished for running from God.
Why not them!
Jonah offers an interesting counterpoint to Mark's Gospel. Here, Mark summarizes Jesus' entire message in three short statements: "This is the time of fulfillment. The reign of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news."
"The reign of God is at hand."
That was the essence of Jesus' message and activity. Mark recorded precious little in the way of Jesus' preaching because he wanted to demonstrate that Jesus' actions embodied God's reign. In his obedience and in what he offered humanity, Jesus inaugurated God's reign in history. Jesus was the fulfillment, the culmination, of God's promises to the chosen people: the one sent to catch others up in the dynamic of his life.
"Repent" summarized the only appropriate response to getting caught up in Jesus' dynamic. Repentance, metanoia in Greek, is not a call to be sorry for sin. It's much closer to "Let your mind be blown away by unimagined possibilities!" Jesus preached metanoia as an invitation to believe that God was about something entirely new and wonderful — and everyone who so desired could participate in the good news.
This sort of repentance is more difficult than sorrow for sin. Sorrow looks to the past and is easily caught up in an ideology of guilt and due punishment, often ending up in some sort of justification. Many descriptions of confession and 12-step programs focus on wrongdoing, teaching people to ask for forgiveness, to make amends, or to do appropriate penance as signs of conversion.
In contrast, metanoia is all about hope and a new vision of life. Metanoia springs from a vision of how God's future is breaking into the present. It is a faith-filled certainty that communion with God and all of creation is the ultimate storyline and meaning of history.
Metanoia is the stuff of dreams that only God's spirit can inspire — and it is ongoing. Jesus' message is simply that. Each of Mark's three statements summarizes the newness, hope and promise that Jesus embodied.
Mark's first demonstration of what metanoia looks like comes in the lines of his Gospel. Jesus saw ordinary workers in an ordinary part of the country and invited them to a metanoia transformation. Had they heard him before? Had they pondered his dreams and promises? Had they discussed him with one another? Perhaps. Perhaps what they had heard from or about him had already touched their hearts and minds. Perhaps they had had debates about him. But hearing, pondering and dreaming are nothing like hearing him say: "Come follow me."
Mark tells us that they left everything immediately, two of them even leaving their father to finish the day's work. That's what metanoia does. Metanoia changes everything, it costs everything, it offers everything. It's an all-or-nothing proposition.
We know from the Gospels that the disciples' metanoia, radical as it was, did not work magic. Their decision did not bring about some sort of personal transubstantiation that transformed them in a flash. They opted for Jesus and his vision, but they had to learn to live it out through the arduous apprenticeship of discipleship. We also know that Jesus did not ask everyone to leave everything behind. Disciples like Zacchaeus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus lived their metanoia at home.
Metanoia's all-or-nothing is about the transformation of taking on Jesus' mind and heart, not necessarily his itinerant mission.
This week's Scriptures invite us to deepen our appreciation of what God offers us in Jesus. Jonah's story tells us that God isn't interested in crime and punishment. The God of Jesus invites us to metanoia: genuine faith in a hope-filled vision of what God desires for creation. Jesus' disciples offer us one example.
Today, between the feast day of Martin Luther King and the beginning of Black History Month, we might look at some of our undeclared saints for examples of how to live metanoia in our time and place. Bryan Stevenson and the late John Lewis are among people who have allowed the dream of God's reign of justice and love to take flesh in their lives. We are invited to the same.
Reflection by Sister of Saint Joseph Mary M. McGlone
St. Joseph Sr. Mary M. McGlone serves on the congregational leadership team of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
Hank Mattimore remembered:
Henry (Hank) Bartholomew Mattimore died Tuesday, December 15, 2020. He was surrounded by his grateful and loving family in his home in Windsor, California.
Hank was born August 11, 1934 in South Buffalo New York. He was the fifth and final child born to parents, Joseph and Mary (McMcMahon)) Mattimore.
Hank was preceded in death by his beloved wife of four years, Kathleen Hutchins (Mattimore), and by his brothers Joseph Mattimore, Daniel Mattimore, and his dear sister, Mary Elwell (Mattimore) of Buffalo NY, and survived by his brother, Richard Mattimore, of Chicago.He is survived by his two children Laura Mattimore Forgue (Paul Forgue) and Sean Mattimore (Jenelle Mattimore (Timm) and by his four adoring grandchildren, Abigael, Kate, Benjamin and Riley. Hank was a much beloved uncle to 21 nieces and nephews, and is also survived by his friend and first wife of 20 years, Lillian Schaie Mattimore. He was a cherished friend to many.
Hank entered the seminary after high school and went on to attend the Oblate Novitiate and the Oblate College in Washington D.C. There he earned a Master's degree in religious education before being ordained as a Catholic priest. He spent seven years as a missionary in Japan and the Philippines. Upon his return to the US, he spent three years as a parish priest in St. Petersburg, Florida. There he earned his Second Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Florida.
In 1971, Hank made the decision to leave the priesthood in order to have a family of his own and moved to Northern California. He met his wife and settled in Sonoma County in 1976.
Hank had a long career in human services and social advocacy. He was the director of senior services for the City of Fairfield (CA) for twelve years and went on to work as director of housing for Face to Face in the early 90s.
Following the passing of his wife Kathleen in 2005, he became a grandparent serving foster children at the newly built Children's Village in Santa Rosa, California. He has served as a Court Appointed Social Advocate for children and served as Chair for the Juvenile Justice Commission. He served as the spiritual director at Los Guilicos juvenile detention center. Hank was involved with the Alzheimer Association, and until COVID, enjoyed providing respite care for family members of those affected by Alzheimer's. Hank was a published author who wrote eight books, sports and travel articles, and had a syndicated column "The Older American" in Solano county's newspaper "The Daily Republic". He was a rich storyteller and one could hear his voice in every word he wrote.
Hank Mattimore lived his life in a way that was merciful, simple, kind, and deliberate. Even through 2020 he could find the good in each day. He truly treasured the small miracles in life and was the best dad a kid could ask for. He had a wonderful circle of friends and was a long time parishioner of Resurrection church. He had a wicked sense of Irish humor, and was known for his practical jokes on unsuspecting coworkers. Hank loved a good baseball game (always with a hot dog and a beer), and was a diehard Oakland As fan. He was endlessly curious about the world and the people in it. He traveled extensively, and was always looking forward to a new adventure. He believed that the secret to a life well lived was in the service of others.
A private family service will be held at Calvary cemetery in Santa Rosa. A mass and a celebration of life gathering will be held as soon as restrictions allow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders.
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