Friday of the First Week of Lent (March 10, 2017)
Inclusive Text- Readings- Ezekiel 18:21-28 / Psalm 130: 1-7A, 7BC-8 / Matthew 5: 20-26
Friends, I think what Jesus is saying to the disciples and to us today is that we should be careful of our ego’s becoming too big. Be careful of how we interact with others. Mindful that there isn’t anyone or anything who is above us and that we need not place ourselves below anyone. When it comes to the Kingdom, we are all equal sisters and brothers in the eyes of God. There couldn’t be one thing that would cause God to keep us from entering the Kingdom. However, it is us who can prevent ourselves from truly becoming Kingdom people.
Recently, I was talking with a woman who was very upset about her current job situation. She was complaining about herself being treated unfairly at work by her boss. She stated to me that she wished that her boss would get into a car accident and perish. The woman obviously was distraught, and her feelings were very harsh. The woman was very knowledgeable of sacred scripture in the Bible. She says she is a Christian. However she is so blinded by her current situation that she feels she is at the end of her rope and can no longer cope. Although she introduces herself as a person of faith, her negative wish, I shared with her about a time I had felt the same way. As I tried to simply listen and have her own her feelings, I proceeded to have her explain herself if she was up to it.
She and I were able to explore her feelings. We spoke and came to the understanding that we have the power to curse or to bless. The woman took the time to explore her feelings and she came to the realization not to give people the power to control her. Whether the person or persons who are hurting us know consciously or unconsciously what they are doing, it is us who give permission to allow these people to control us. These persons are often victims of abuse. There is a saying “hurt people, will hurt people”.
My former pastor and friend from the Roman tradition at one time challenged the whole entire Diocese of Brooklyn. He said if we believed in the God of love and forgiveness then Hitler is in heaven. He went on to say this does not excuse the atrocities that Hitler committed. Sisters and brothers this does not give us the right to do whatever it is we feel like doing without any consequences, but to know that if we believe in the redeeming and ultra-magnificence of the God of all creation we too can be able to give everyone who has wronged us a chance to redeem themselves. Would we not want the same opportunity? If we stop trying to be God and let God be God there are always second chances, if we truly come to God who is ever waiting with arms opened wide to give us ultimate Joy.
rev. Michael Theogene