Tag Archives: theology

Jesus didn’t embrace sinners unconditionally saying peace, love, everything is OK. He’s saying it’s not OK!

24th Sunday Year C

15th September 2013

Luke 15:1-10 The Lost Sheep / Drachma

Here’s a piece that’s often mistakenly used to justify, tolerate and accept behaviour that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Christ.

More often than not, you’ll find a very selective focus on the Good Shepherd that effectively denies the reality of sin, denies there’s a real danger to the lost sheep.

Surely it’s the danger to the lost sheep that provokes the loving Shepherd to leave the ninety nine and go in search of the one?

So, effectively, while Jesus tells us much about himself, he’s also telling us that sin is not OK!

Firstly, the Gospels use the terms sin and sinners. Indeed they are terms that Jesus affirms. If you remove sin and sinners from the Gospels, Jesus Christ becomes meaningless.

Secondly, when Jesus tries to explain sin He tells stories / parables that understand sin as loss, potentially fatal. He uses sin and loss as if they’re interchangeable.

Thirdly, the sinners are seeking the company of Jesus to hear what he had to say. It’s not a case of Jesus embracing sinners unconditionally saying peace, love, everything is OK! On the contrary Jesus is saying it’s not OK!

Nowhere is this more obvious than on the Cross.

ILLUSTRATE USING CRUCIFIX

This is what sin does to God.

But since this (Jesus Christ) is also man, this is also what sin does to humanity.

That’s why Jesus is interested in the sinner, but he’s interested like a shepherd facing the potential permanent destruction of one of his sheep.

Therefore, far from justifying, tolerating and accepting sin as OK the scriptures, indeed Jesus himself, actually argue and teach the very opposite.

If you can’t be trusted with money how can you be trusted with the Kingdom of God?

25th Sunday Year C

22nd September 2013

Luke 16:1-13

As we’d say in Wexford, there’s fierce sense in this piece. It’s common sense.

Jesus takes everyday experience and uses it to teach us about eternity.

In this case He argues that if we can’t be trusted with money, how can we be trusted with the riches of Gods Kingdom, with Heaven?

It’s common sense. If you’re an employer and you can’t trust a particular employee with your money, do you make that employee the manager?

So, if God can’t trust you with money He’s not going to give you his Kingdom! He’s not going to give you Heaven!

Can’t trust us with money yet give us the power of angels? It’s not going to happen!

Notice Jesus’ descriptive terms (how he describes things); ‘genuine riches’ against ‘money, that tainted thing’

There’s always a tension in the teaching of Jesus between making provision for our earthly life (money that tainted thing, what is not yours) and making provision for eternal life (genuine riches, what is your very own)

Let me put it this way:

How many people in Ireland buy a lotto ticket every week? Why? There are very good reasons but generally it’s about making provision for our earthly life.

Jesus makes the point that we’re very good at making provision for our earthly life but not so good at making provision for eternal life; the children of this world are more astute in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.

Now compare the intensity, the expectancy, the anticipation, the hope, the sense of possibility with which we approach the lotto (or our business or other interests), compare that with our approach to the Church, to Mass and the Sacraments, particularly Holy Communion.

What do you find? A kind of unawareness that God can make us happy, that God is the source of true happiness, that we’re designed for union with God.

When Jesus speaks of genuine riches, what is yours, He means himself, his life poured into ours.

How many Catholics started to build but didn’t finish? Sunday 23, Year C, September 08 2013

Be sure to read the Gospel: Luke 14: 25-33

The first thing to say about that piece is; it’s about us and God. But since God by his very nature is not interested in Himself (he doesn’t need to be) we can take it that it’s really about us, about our good.

Without hating my father, mother, wife … What could that mean?

Hating in this piece means second place, any place but not first place! So Jesus Christ gets first place, everybody and everything else comes second …

Jesus is saying; put me before parents, wife, husband, children … Why on earth would you do that?

Jesus Christ is suggesting He’s the true source of happiness. This is radical stuff, completely counter cultural.

What’s the goal of our culture? What’s our cultures vision for you, for the human being? Consume, so that you will be happy! That’s it, nothing more. It’s the biggest lie ever told on the face of the earth.

Jesus says; I’m your true goal.

By the way, anyone who thinks there is no basis in the teaching of Jesus for priestly celibacy needs to have a look at this!

The king going out to war is you and me, indeed particularly priests, going out against an enemy that’s far greater than us, the world and all its allure, (ultimately it’s a spiritual war) and very often we sue for peace, meaning we compromise, sometimes we give up altogether.

How many priests have gone that road? How many ordinary Catholics? How many started to build but couldn’t finish – it’s a tough environment! Don’t you get it? It’s war, spiritual warfare, like one King marching to war against another King!

Why practice religion? If you practice with your heart it’ll take you into the Divine Life. But so many never even start! Others get side-tracked along the way. Some object to others and leave …

Behind this radical call, this seemingly crazy task of putting Christ first there resides the most important truth often unknown to humankind; life in Christ (grace) is our true goal. He is our happiness, knowing Him, loving Him.

God alone can satisfy the human heart!

Fourth Sunday of Lent: The Prodigal Son

If you can imagine Christ at a football match.

He’d be shouting for both teams!

He’s like that.

He wants everyone to win the prize.

Christ loves both victim and perpetrator of injustice equally, but different.

Christ’s love seeks to;
– heal every wound.
– burn out every evil.

It’s a double edged sword, cuts both ways.

Christ doesn’t want to lose a single soul, that’s how the true lover of Christ, the Christian, views the world.

We have little difficulty with Christ as long as He’s on the side of the good, but when we realize He’s equally on the other side, all-be-it differently, calling for repentance and conversion, He becomes a little more troublesome.

The good son has all the exterior signs of good religion but he hasn’t got his Father’s loving, forgiving heart.
Incidentally, isn’t the good son’s religion the kind of religion the majority of Church critics want to see? Wouldn’t he suit their agenda perfectly?

In fact, most of the commentary we hear about the Catholic Church in our day comes from the perspective of the good son who wants nothing to do with the bad son and fails absolutely to see the matter from the Fathers perspective!

Christ is on all sides, equally, but differently!