July 4, 2014
Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. Go and learn the meaning of the words, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mt 9:9-13
In today’s Church calendar we celebrate the 13th Friday of Ordinary Time, while in our secular American calendar we celebrate the 238th anniversary of our independence from British rule (no offense you Brits!). Funny how we Americans, and probably all humans, so cherish our independence. We don’t like to be slaves to anyone. And that IS a just and fair way of thinking. It simply respects “human dignity”.
And yet, we are perfectly willing to enslave others to our own beliefs. We are willing to overcharge others for our goods, since everyone else overcharges us. We are willing to underpay our employees, from the practices of major corporations, to the very people we pay to keep our homes and watch our kids. We are willing to overlook slavery in our own world, and in our own country, and in our own time, all with the excuse of our own independence.
And it’s not a modern plague either, this injustice of independence. The prophet Amos, some 2750 years ago, pleaded for the people of his time, to recognize their own poverty of mind. He said, that it’s not what fills their bellies that makes them rich or poor, but it’s what fills their minds. And filling theirs, and our own minds means recognizing that it is only God who can truly do that – who can truly satisfy our craving for independence and happiness. And that can only happen through the reading and following of His Word.
You see, the Pharisees had the same problem. They didn’t recognize that the poor and the sinners were not burdens on their righteous society, but instead, those people were actually opportunities to share God’s wealth and lighten the Pharisees’ own burdens.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they were ones who were really poor because, instead of their independent, righteousness making them special in the eyes of God, it really did just the opposite. They became the slave drivers of the poor and needy, while they themselves became enslaved to the whims of a world enslaved by sin.
You see instead of seeking independence, when we recognize our DEPENDENCE on God, and then share our gifts with people who are in greater need than we are, then our whole world becomes that “lighter burden of Jesus’ yoke,” as Jesus himself described it.
Yes, we all have our own needs. It may be our health, or our financial situation. It may be our mental stress or our inability to remember everything. But Jesus tells us that we all have something to offer to others. Even if that something is just a smile or a blessing, God’s Word will have its effect. And that effect is greater than our food, or our clothing, or our jobs, or even our independence.
All we need to do is share it. And what we’ll find, is that ALL things will come back to us in even greater abundance than we ever gave.
Especially God’s love!
_______________end of post