22nd Sunday Year A
August 31, 2014
GETTING IT RIGHT, BUT MISSING THE POINT!
Jeremiah was a curious fellow … He was, well … like you and me! We all get some things right, but we also miss the whole point at times! I get it, for one, that life is difficult, as good, old Scott Peck told us years ago. We also know that life is complex, beyond merely being difficult. We get it, don’t we?
But of course, getting things right is no guarantee we get the whole point … at least not that soon. Jeremiah got it. And he complained big time! “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me and you triumphed.”
I, too, rant and rave big time. For many reasons, reasonable or otherwise. I do right here, right now. Do I deserve to be suffering so much for trying to solve problems I did not create? Should I just accept blindly my lot to be now at the receiving end of so much dissatisfaction, even hatred, for trying to fix things for the ultimate good of the institution I work for?
“You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped!” I get it … Life, is, indeed, difficult and complex. But why is that?
Peter, whom we extolled last week as the “rock,” got it too. “Ok,” he thought … he was going to be the unassailable Gibraltar of the Lord’s incipient Church. He was meant to be more than the legendary Rocky Balboa! He was called to be the foundation stone of what the Lord was in the process of building.
He got it alright, but wait! He seemed to miss the whole point today, big time! When the Lord began talking about persecutions and sufferings and death, he rose to the occasion and claimed his status as Rocky Steadfast. He chided the Lord, much more quickly than he could confide in his wisdom: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”
Yes, I get it Lord. Life is difficult. For me. For everyone. I get it, too, Lord. I need to follow you … not my dream, not my personal vision-mission, not even my ambition, but simply you!
But I miss the whole point, like Peter. Like Jeremiah … at least in the beginning. I think “not as God does, but as human beings do.” Sometimes, in my discouragement and despondency, I act more like Satan, and a lot less like Rocky Steadfast.
The whole point today is clear. Let us take it from Jeremiah version 2 … Let us take it also from the upgraded version of Saul the persecutor who became Paul the prophet and protector of the faith … Jeremiah version 2 saw things right and later got the whole point: “But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones!” Saul extreme hater who became Paul supreme lover got the point too … “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
And now, for a final salvo … from our hero turned heel today (at least temporarily!) Peter who was called “rock” but today also called an obstacle …
He got a mouthful from his Master and Lord … “Whoever wishes to come after me, must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”
He missed it big time, not once but thrice. He denied the Lord thrice!
But this is the good news for today … He got the whole point eventually. Even if he was dragged kicking and screaming to his crucifixion upside down, het got the whole point …Eventually. Ultimately. Gloriously!
Don’t you get it yet?
P.S. I ask my readers to pray for me today. It’s my nth birthday … and, old as I am, there’s still a lot for me to do, to get the whole point!