Does a title such as this have any validity? Do I or anyone have a right to say it? I mean, can one actually do this, looking at the past for hints – answers, better yet – as to how I can improve the quality of my life today. I believe so. Let’s see how this can be done, if it can be done at all.
Judaism was the dominant religion at His time. It worked well for many people – except for, as the New Testament hints, the disenfranchised, the poor, Gentiles. For the most part it did not work well for perceived outcasts. Judaism is a beautiful religion. But like all religions, it is followed naturally by human beings. And human beings, being human as we are, are often tempted to reject people. There are many reasons that cause this state of affairs. But looking at these particular reasons is not the point of this page today. I am not inviting everyone to look at the people doing the rejecting in Jesus’ time and reflect on why they chose this behavior. I am inviting everyone to look at the rejected, and reflect on how they responded to this rejection.
Being rejected as such, I imagine they were prone to feeling weak. They are just getting through the day, as they say. I suppose they didn’t have much of a future to look forward to. That lack of vision alone can weaken any person. Offhand, I can see how the Church could see more than people being poor in that they had little or no possessions or material things, or even whatever they might have had to give them some kind of status. The Church expanded on its’ outlook to see these people as poor in the sense of poor in spirit. It’s like they lost connectedness with their very souls, or that within them that makes people feel really alive.
There are questions that all human beings ask themselves. Examples here might include such questions as, “Who loves me and who do I love?” “Does my life have real meaning, or am I just something passing through this world, only to have my family miss me when I’m gone, as the world itself will not even notice that I was ever here.” Questions like this.
Well, I imagine that the people in Jesus’s time went around lifeless initially. They wanted to survive at least, and again, just get through the day. But then Jesus spoke to them, and they ended up feeling more alive than they thought possible. How did this happen? Or better yet, what made this brand new feeling happen? They got their questions, their basic human questions, answered.
They knew they were loved. Listening to Jesus and reflecting on their relationship with Him, they were convinced they were loved. They went beyond mere knowing. Being so filled with God’s love, they invariably discovered a reservoir of love within themselves, so much so, that it brimmed over and they were able to give that love to other people.
As they gave that love to other people, they now discovered that their lives were rich in meaning. No longer were they just “getting through the day.” They were living purposeful lives. The world would know they were here just as strongly as they knew that God loved them. But all of this had to begin with themselves. And that’s how it has to begin with ourselves. Are we convinced that we are loved by God, so much so that we can feel it? Does this love brim over so that we strongly desire that all people feel that love?
If we are not feeling this way, God is right now waiting for us to ask Him – “Do you really love me this deeply?” And what’s more, He very much desires to answer it. So ask it! And may God bless you!
Blessing! Fr. Walter