In the Gospel Lesson we heard -- Jesus is telling the people
that bad things don't always happen to people because they are bad
or sinful. Instead, Jesus says, "Stop thinking this way!!" Bad
things don't happen to people because they have been bad! God
doesn't work that way, and if you think that he does, your just
plain wrong! On the other hand, we should observe that Good things
don't necessarily happen to us when we're good. Oh, we might
receive some goodness in our lives, but we can just as easily
suffer even though we have been saints!!
"So what's the point of being good then??" we might ask. "Why
strive to do good things? Why go the extra mile or make the
sacrifice of our time or money or risk anything if there's no
guarantee we'll get some good coming to us if we do these
things??" I'd venture to say, God would agree with our reasoning
on these points. But the getting of things and the granting of
"divine favors" is not what it's all about. If you hope to get by
giving, then you have missed the point. Because our faith does not
teach that we get anything by what we do! Instead, We receive
God's love and are given the blessed promise of Eternal life
because God has already accomplished this for us!
There is no favoritism and God is no respecter of persons. Our
hope is not in what we have done, nor are the promises of
prosperity, or happiness, or health granted to us because we
seemed to have gained some higher standard of living for
ourselves. It is not because we are long term members of this
particular outstanding congregation in the Holy City of Emmitsburg
(Even though being a member here at Elias is a pretty good
Nevertheless, . . . we are no better and no worse than someone
from California or Texas, or China, or the Soviet Union. You or I
could have been born to a poor family in India, who become
dispossessed of their land and be forced to beg for our food or
have to fight for a place to sleep safely on a sidewalk at night.
We would be no better and no worse in God's sight.
But having considered our position in this life. What is it
that gives us hope if we cannot improve our own lot before God in
this life?? What gives us motivation to strive on to live a godly
life? . . . Why try to walk the dark road to the cross with Jesus
during this time of LENT? What difference does it make?
. . . . . .The difference is that Christ has gone before us.
Jesus has blazed the trail to eternal life and has called us to
----- "OK, so we should follow Jesus. Being a follower of the
Savior of the world generally entails that we be generally good
persons, (Wouldn't you agree?) We try to be generally good,
because Jesus did good things for many needy people, from Luke's
account it is quite clear that Jesus cared for the poor and
continually reached out to the sick.
"OK, we get that part. But why follow him down the dark and
dangerous road to the cross. What's that going to prove??" Is
there something meritorious about side-stepping the broad and easy
way and instead, having to work hard to go down the loathsome path
that leads to "the place of the skull"??"
Honestly, I can't really answer that. But what I do know is
that right here right now, we are standing in a kind of darkness.
Our world is filled with gloominess -- sadness and suffering are
all around us. There are 364 degrees of sad stories. 364 degrees
of Tragedies are all around us at any point in time, unless we
keep our head in the sand, and do not hear or not see that evil is
hard at work evil is unrelenting in its work of destroying
lives, such as the work of these horrible terrorists who have
killed and maimed innocent people in Spain this past week.
There are also the tragedies of our families, like when one
spouse cheats on the other, or when a child runs away from home
because he or she does not feel understood, and the fears that
your child can be so easily seduced and enslaved by drugs and then
there's the incessant rise in crime that follows addictive
behaviors of all kinds. 364 degrees of discouragement surround us
at any time of the day or night.
***! But there is ""1 degree"" that leads to the cross of
We don't so much need to fear entering the road of the cross
with Jesus as we need to fear remaining motionless in the 364
degrees of this present state of life in the world!!
As I have thought about stepping out in faith with Jesus, and
how it might sound unattractive (after all, who really desires
to journey to a crucifixion) I then remembered that this world'
also has ways of demonstrating how cruel and gruesome we can be to
one another. And then I remembered what Jesus is saying in this
lesson God has not abandoned us to what we may think that we
deserve!!!!! God loves us and has come to show us a better way.
That is the way of the cross!! Yes, The cross leads to death
and suffering, yet it is not we/us who suffer it is GOD!@! And
this is the miracle of the journey. We follow Christ in the way of
the Cross and he leads us through death and into the
resurrection!@! This is the hope of all who journey with Jesus and
this is why we remain focused on walking with Jesus for forty days
in Lent. WE ARE NOT WITHOUT HOPE!!!
So if you are realizing, or thinking to yourself. "My God, I
have not even taken the first step and we are already supposed to
be half way there!" Consider that maybe you have traveled more
than you think but just need to recognize the scenery that has
already gone by.
If you were saddened by the mangled train cars and disturbed by
the men and women who lay dead, and dying, or who were injured or
crying after last week's terrorist attack then you were feeling
what God felt and must have been there with God in that place. . .
. . . Only remember to pray.
If you have taken time to notice the clover greening as it
grows in some small crack in the sidewalk outside of your home,
then consider that to be something that God showed you on the way
with Jesus, the cry of God's CREATION is for life!! If you have
kneeled with your child as he or she prepared for sleep, and
prayed that the family dog or cat would be well or if you hugged
your teenager before they left for school one day last week. Then
perhaps you felt the hand of Jesus joining in that prayer or in
Sometimes journeying with Jesus doesn't require us to have two
good legs. Maybe all that is required is a strong spirit and a
willing heart == God does the rest.
Don't give in to despair! No matter how small the step have
faith that God can and will carry you in the way He would have you
go. Believe in God, believe in the miracle of his abiding presence
always. For Christ has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.
God is faithful.
Let us Pray
Lord Jesus Christ, we want to walk with you every moment of
every day. Inspire our hearts, enable us to serve you always,
praying for those who persecute us. Bring us to know your glory
now and forever.