Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Independence Day

The freedom we are invited to by Jesus goes far beyond what even our good Christian founding forebears envisioned in the Declaration of Independence. It’s so much more than just life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Remembering Jesus is never about simply protecting our rights or privileges, never about our entitlement or only about fairness but always about trying little by little to make the graceful choice for self-forgetfulness and compassion and giving a little more with joy. No document can make you do that, but a relationship with Christ Jesus just might.

In our pain, in our prosperity we are invited to remember him, remember to whom we belong and graciously allow this remembering to change us, inform our choices, so that we too can love and forgive our enemies as he did; we too can be lavish in our generosity without any worries of running short. We may doubt, wonder how, hang back, but Jesus shows us that our hearts are big enough. Our love can be perfect and complete because we belong to him, the wounded and risen Lord Jesus, who empowers us to be lovingly vulnerable with him, in him. 

Then the kingdom happens, Christ Jesus working through us, teaching us to overthrow the powers of this world through our subversive acts of kindness, of forgiveness and compassion, through our sufferings born in peace, through our stuttered, halting prayers. We must believe that what we do matters, not because we’re better or holier but because it is our duty, our privilege as beloved ones to do no less. Our allegiance belongs to Christ Jesus our Lord. He can only work in and through us. And so we absolutely refuse ever to yield to cynicism, but ever cling to his memory.

Possessed by Jesus, inflamed with his desire for our world, we can be perfect lovers like God. We must believe it. Or else frightened and angry we may be tempted to batten down the hatches, shut down the borders of our generosity, of our hospitality and become stingy with our compassion and our forgiveness. No. We are called to do more and be more – freely invited to act in freedom - to relieve and console and welcome. 
Photograph by Father Emmanuel.