theROCK

Complacent

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Recently at Mass, a word during the first reading popped out at me. The word was "complacent". The text read, "Woe to the complacent in Zion" (Amos 6:1). To be complacent is to be self-satisfied to the point of not working for change because contentment blinds you to the issues at hand. In the reading, those in Zion are resting on their laurels while suffering surrounds them. They are blind to it. Have I grown complacent? Have you grown complacent? So stuck in what I am doing that I have grown negligent to the needs around me? Have I grown self-absorbed to the point of not wanting to bother with anything outside my comfort zone?

That word has bothered me for days now. Complacent implies being unmoved. If our purpose is to come to know, love, and serve God, we can never become complacent. (This might be where the warning came from in the first reading.) Our goal is to live in relationship with Jesus. We strive to help one another get to heaven. None of this can happen with complacency. We can never be satisfied with just being, we have to move. We have to move from knowing, to loving, to serving. This is discipleship. This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus, to never be complacent. To be better. To be more. Not just for yourself but for God and your fellow human beings. I guess I got my answer for how to be the best version of myself this week. What about you?

Be-Loved

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I must tell you, the gospel readings for these last two months have been challenging to me. Words that started the month with “those who exalt themselves will be humbled.” A couple of weeks ago, the story of the prodigal son, and this week the story of poor Lazarus and the rich man. Most of the remarks from Jesus are directed to his disciples…that’s us. The words of Jesus around discipleship are both hard and easy at the same time.

Hard, because Jesus’ call to give up everything and follow him, means letting go of all the protections we have built up over the years. Protections which mask our shame, imagine our control, and falsify our security.

Easy, because of the realizations of the false, paper protections they are. What does God want from us? In short, he wants our response to the unconditional love he offers, and has been offering since he “knew us in the womb.” Why do we, including myself, find it so hard to believe God will provide?

Instead we struggle, we scheme, we try to make life work, and when it doesn’t, we run to God like injured little children run to their parent. I am sure God doesn’t mind how we come to him, but I also know the peace of really letting God provide, and knowing, even if sporadically, that his love lets us lead the best life possible. We could be distressed by the commands of Jesus by trying to be humble, to be compassionate, to be empathetic. The revelation in these attempts is the word “be”. If you wish to know what it takes to follow God, just remember who we are…his beloved, and stop trying so hard to “do” and instead…be-loved.

Advocating for a Culture of Life

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“God will never forget those … who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land.”

This Scripture passage should serve as an appropriate lead in to Respect Life Month in October. We live in a self-gratifying society that uses things and disposes of things whenever something bigger, brighter, better, or newer comes along. It’s the world we live in. We cannot apply that same attitude when it comes to the dignity and safety of all human beings. Respecting life at all stages has been squeezed into four weeks during October, but it must become an effort where we live and speak for a culture of life every day of the year. Whether it’s a baby still in its mother’s womb, the poor and the needy, or a person nearing their end of life, everyone should be treated as a child of God and deserves the dignity given to each one of us by our Creator. For some, living as an advocate for life might mean strengthening our resolve to protect the most vulnerable and, in other cases, it may mean changing our hearts to recognize the dignity in all human beings.

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