March 11 - The Law is Love for Jesus and Neighbor
Mar 10, 2019
Scripture: A long time before Jesus was born God spoke to his chosen people to begin their formation. Nothing in this Hebrew scripture should surprise the Christian because God does not change, nor does His plan of salvation. Why do you think that the Lord had to repeatably call for Justice, honesty, and rules for society? The world was not a nice place. Nobody writes a rule to stop cursing the deaf and putting stumbling blocks in front of the blind unless that was a real problem. God gave his people a law, to promote charity (love), but enforced with penalty. In the famous MT 25, Jesus does not condemn people or cast them away because they violated the law. It is because they did not know the charity itself (how to love). The young man who came to Jesus and said that he had kept all the commandments since he was young (he kept the law to a tee), what did Jesus call him to next? He said, now go sell everything, give it to the poor, and follow me. He called that young man to move from avoiding offenses against charity to promoting and incarnating that charity for others.
Core Faith Principle: There is no solid doctrine explaining the exact implications of the miracle of Christ's cross. We know that Jesus suffered physically, we know that he died. We know that in the Garden the night before his death he was sweating blood in prayer over the terrible price he knew he would pay the next day. What does it mean that Jesus "Became sin who knew no sin" (the reading from a few days ago). This is where I will humbly say that this is a mystery and the remainder of this paragraph is my attempt to address it (this is my interpretation, not doctrine). We learn from our childhood that our sin separates us from God. We also learn, especially in preparation for first communion, that God wants to be one with us. How can God become one with a sinner without some remedy for sin and the distance it created between us and God? Fulton Sheen wrote in The Life of Christ, that Jesus was the only human born for the purpose of death and that the shadow of the cross fell over the manger. I believe it was revealed to us in the name given to the Incarnate Lord, Emmanuel, "God is with us." I propose, with studied reason, that when Jesus Christ took sin upon Himself on the cross, he allowed for the Divine Accompaniment of all humanity. In short, I believe that Jesus became the coequal agent of all human suffering. This would mean that the Living God, untouchable in majesty, has chosen to share the entirety of human suffering with his beloved children. Not because He is a masochist, but because without it, the Lord could not be near in your suffering. Not because he is a masochist, but by enduring the full accompaniment with human suffering he could rightly destroy its power with his Divine Innocence. I am pushing the depth of single paragraph but you can read Matthew 25 with this idea of Divine Accompaniment, Jesus being a coequal agent of all human suffering, and see that every act of love and charity we perform for each other, lessens the suffering of the cross. Every sin that unleashes separation and suffering increases the suffering of the cross. The next time you suffer you can remember the Divine Accompaniment and know that this accompaniment works both ways. If you focus on Christ and endure that suffering with His heart, with His love, than you can join with Christ in directing that suffering to the salvation of the world. That is what, "Offer it up" means.
Living this at Home: When our children suffer from something not of their own making, I believe that their isn't a better window of time through which we can see the crucifixion. We work so hard to prevent our children from suffering at all. Parents work many hours, sometimes multiple jobs, to give their children a "better life" than their own. We strive to accomplish stability and comfort, security and opportunity. Jesus told a parable about a man who accumulated such great wealth that he was going to build new barns to store his wealth and prepare for easy street. Jesus rebuked him in the tale because his life would be exacted from him this very day. I would promote two ideas to the home life today. At minimum, once a month, pretend that death is going to separate you from your wife or your children. I don't say this so that once a month you panic, but rather that at least once a month you reconcile any outstanding difference, profess your true love, remind those closest to you how much you love them. We always, foolishly, wait until people are really dying to try to say these things. Don't make it weird, but find your moment. Whether it is whispered in a stolen kiss for your spouse in the kitchen, a simple moment after reading a bed-time story, or if you have teenagers who are allergic to this, wait until they screw something up and expect to be busted. (Still give them proper correction, but sneak in just how much you really do love them; despite their sins). The second thing I'd offer today is to begin practicing the proper disposition toward suffering. God does not want us to suffer, but when we do, we can direct our hearts to the cross. It is there that our suffering is translated into the greatest act of love for the entire world in accompaniment with Jesus. It is no longer pointless but rather we can be in our own small way, with God, in his time of trial. Teach yourself and your children to offer that suffering as a prayer intention for the salvation of the world, or as a prayer intention for someone your love, or finally as a prayer intention for someone doing evil to convert their heart and accept God's grace.