Monday in the 6th Week of the Church Year.
Saints for the day: Seven founders of the Servite Order
Scripture Readings for today's Liturgy: James 1:1-11 - Psalm 119 - Mark 8:11-13
“Jesus sighed …’Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you,
no sign will be given to this generation.’ Then he left them!” (Mark 8:12-13)
I love it when our Scripture readings are short and to the point: “You’re always looking for signs! They’re all around! Then He left them!” If there’s anything in the Holy Scriptures that most of us will remember it has to be Jesus’ “I AM” statements. “I AM the WAY” is one of them. Take a moment to think about when you need signs. You don’t need signs to get from your house to your workplace. Signs are only necessary when we don’t know where we’re going.
Sometimes when we look at something too closely we miss the point all together. Remember that saying that I quoted the other day? “It’s hard to see the big picture when you’re inside the frame!” Just for a moment, go back and see how many of Jesus’ “I AM’s” you can remember. It’s almost enough if they are at least there in your memory banks so that you don’t need much more than that. I can almost hear Jesus saying, “How many times do I have to tell you that I love you and will never leave you out in the dark?” “I AM the Light” in your darkness. Don’t you believe me? In today’s first Scripture reading from the Letter of James he encourages us to seek wisdom and it will be given. It’s wisdom that enables us to know what we need to pray for. In Matthew’s telling of this same story – 12:38ff – Jesus adds, “The only sign that will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah” who was in the belly of the whale for three days. So, when the Pharisees ask for a sign Jesus is letting them know of His own death, burial and resurrection – which, unlike Jonah – He freely intered into. Maybe Matthew’s rendition is better in that all of us need to know that we will one day come to the end of our life as we know it and enter into the “hereafter.” If we pray for wisdom – and not for riches or an easy life – the transition will not be a horrendous one but, rather, just part of our on-going journey into the Kingdom. C.S. Lewis, in his book, “The Great Divorce” tells the story of people at the edge of deep heaven. Angels are there to help them finish the journey into the light of heaven but some get frustrated and don’t want to make this final effort. When they turn away, the begin to slide into hell but hardly notice since they never really had as their goal the beauty of Heaven. But for those who continue on the journey into deep heaven they are surprised to find that even the hard times of their lives take on a “halo glow” as they are transformed into one, continuous journey into paradise. “I am the WAY – the TRUTH – and the LIFE!” Jesus said that. Amen!
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