The world of money and the stock markets speak of corrections that happen from time to time. The advice is always, don’t panic: what goes down, comes back up.
Right now, worldwide, we are going through a value and social correction which the world has not experienced in a very long period of time.
What is being re-written is how we live together, how we work together, how we relate with each other. We are learning that family and friends are more important than our working activity and making money but in a different kind of way. Life and our health and our future have become very important.
There will be no return to a former normal, and the future is not clear. It is something yet to be invented.
Rightly, do we wonder and ask where God is in all of this? Is this the way God intervenes knowing that how far we have come is no longer the way to go?
I read an “opinion” piece in last Friday’s East Bay Times predicting that the next pandemic is lurking in the shadows of the coronavirus. The piece traced the origins of every pandemic of the last 50 years and found their origin in pathogens transferring from animals to humans, and all pointing to our mismanagement of the planet. It is not God’s fault!
Now we want God to come and rescue us. God could say: “You have made your bed; now sleep in it.” That seems to be what is happening. Hopefully, there is more mercy in God than impatience.
Perhaps we need to re-invite our own experience of God and begin to include God in our lives in a more friendly way. Is God standoffish or are we? Do we approach God only when we need God? Do we see ourselves more as God’s servants or more as his friends. Why do we fear God? Why do we wait for the negative foot of life to fall? Do we decide to put God off until the end of our lives? Why don’t we invite God to be a part of our lives? The value for us is to have God on our side and to let God help us in all the details of life.
I believe that we appreciate God more as someone to save us when we need Him; otherwise we are just fine to do it on our own. Have you ever read Shakespeare, the 16th century playwright? The theater literature of his day also included a part for a person called, “Deus Ex Machina” — a piece of equipment that could swoop down from the upper stage to save someone in danger — translated into English, “God from a machine,” (God who comes out of “nowhere”), God coming to our rescue when we get into a tight spot.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus entered into our world to tell us, first of all, that He is not our master and we are not his slaves, and secondly, that he wanted to be our friend and fellow companion in our lives — not a rescuer, or a God who rescued by a string as if we were puppets.
How we imagine and appreciate God makes all the difference in how we live our lives, see our place in the world, and determines what motivates us.
Today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles describes an enthusiasm for Jesus that sends Philip down to Samaria to share about who Jesus was and is, and they were baptized. Peter and John join him and together they pray for the Holy Spirit of God to touch them, inside and out. They received the Spirit of God in such a way that changed their lives.
Remember at the beginning, there was no church, no institution with established rituals and rules, no church buildings — only the Holy Spirit living in those who received Jesus into their lives.
We have come a long way since then, and have become a complicated church, with a conflicted history, trying to re-establish ourselves, where 70 percent of Catholics who were baptized are no longer practicing Catholics. And now, we may even become less because we seem to be getting along just fine without coming to Church and to the Eucharist.
Way back in the first century, St. Peter wrote a letter from Rome, part of which we read today: what does he mean when he writes: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence.“
At our Baptism, we recognized that the fullness of God, as the Father, as the Son, and as Holy Spirit, was living within the deepest part of our existence. We call that our souls. God did not come “as a thing, as a power, as a charm.” God created us, with the help of our parents, and breathed the life of Himself into each of us.
We are more than we seem to be even if we are not aware. We always have been and yet, for much of life, we live life as if we were not what we are.
This morning, the words of Jesus help us to recover our essence which prepares us to live in the present moment and which will prepare us to create our new future.
Our advocate, Jesus calls “The Spirit of Truth,” [which] has always been with us. Do we pay attention? Do we take time to become acquainted and to listen?
Jesus says that God is waiting for the day when we will wake up and begin to realize that He is in His father and that we are in Him. We do not need a “Deus Ex Machina,” because God and each one of us are one in each other.
Jesus ends with a word of hope: The closer we are to him, we will find, in him, a presence that comforts, a presence that guides, a presence that fulfills, a presence that reveals a future and how to proceed.
The institutions of our Religious allegiance with all of its traditions, rituals and prayers cannot save us or guard us or write a future for us.
Our future depends upon Jesus as a person who lives in [us]. He is not a road map. He invites us to invite him, rather, to recognize him and be aware that He is walking with us and living with us. Jesus never wanted us to live life alone. He has always been there with us. All we have to do is to open ourselves to who is there.
Remember, a few weeks ago when I quoted the Native American Black Elk, a wise mystic, a follower of Jesus, a Catholic Christian:
Comes within the souls of people
When they realize…
At the center of the universe
Dwells the great Mystery,
And this center is everywhere.
It is within each of us.”
(Thanks to Jesus, our friend)
Sandra’s note: Here is a song passed on by Joy Maloles Keehn that is beautiful and prayerful, Endless Is Your Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqNB-nufs3s&t=47&authuser=0
Also, I have set up a manual list of my own if you would just like to get an email from me when there are new blogposts instead of having to set up a username and password. I didn’t realize that it would be so complicated, and I agree with many of you that it is too much work. So please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be added to the list.