Friday, March 28, 2014

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

“Don't be in a hurry to condemn because he doesn't do what you do or think as you think or as fast. There was a time when you didn't know what you know today.” ― Malcolm X

Gospel Text: (MK 12:28-34)
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
“Which is the first of all the commandments?”
Jesus replied, “The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him,
“You are not far from the Kingdom of God.”
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Understanding. It is how Jesus recognizes the sincerity of his disciple after his teaching on the two most fundamental pillars of Christianity. How often do I say something without understanding? It happens to us all the time, right! If we find this lack of understanding important in our daily conversations then how much greater is the need for it when we speak of our faith?

There is a story about a young Carmelite nun who, when praying the Our Father, could not bring herself to move past the first line "Our Father" without succumbing to a flood of tears. She understood what it truly means to have a Father in Heaven, watching after us, holding our hand when we walk, and picking us up when we fall. I have said the Our Father countless times, but many times all I say are the words and lack the deep understanding Jesus wanted to express to us through this prayer. For most of us, our entire prayer lives can become like this. We go through the motions at Mass because we have been there and know what's coming. We even can sometimes doze off during the homily or the Eucharistic Prayer.

So, how do we understand? That is what Jesus wants from us right? Let's start with this: slow yourself down today and sit in the presence of Christ and say to yourself, "I believe." Nothing more, nothing less. Throw yourself on Jesus for everything and you will begin to understand, even if those moments of clarity come few and far between. In prayer when you start to doubt whether or not you are talking to the ceiling say to yourself, "I believe." When you go grocery shopping and someone cuts you off and steals that parking space check yourself and say, "I believe." At work when you become frustrated in the wages you are earning and the struggle of putting your kids through school say to yourself, "I believe." We must begin to trust in Jesus Christ. To love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength and to love our neighbor as our self.

How do we understand? How do we trust that the words we speak our truth? Go to Him in the Eucharist and say once more, "I believe"

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