Readings at Mass on Thursday of the 11th Week of Ordinary Time
“if someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted” (2nd Corinthians 11:4)
The first reading from the Scriptures at today's daily Mass is timeless and therefore timely. Saint Paul urges the church in Corinth to stay faithful to the teachings that he himself delivered. He cautions them not to leave the truth he gave them just because “someone comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached ... a different spirit from the one you received or a different gospel from the one you accepted”. Saint Paul urges them to stay true to Jesus, the Jesus Christ they came to know through the Gospel.
Today, we too can be distracted by the subtle false teachings that threaten our experience of the person of Jesus Christ. Pope Benedict XVI teaches: “God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us.”
Jesus Christ is near. Beware of two seductions that are amidst us these days.
On one extreme, the popular “WWJD” actually undermines the truth of the Gospel. We never have to speculate what Jesus would do. Jesus is doing ... now. He is near; He is active and alive. He is near and present to you ... now. Jesus is real ... and He is really active in your life. WWJD is a modern heresy couched in hip bracelets and grunge t-shirts. It seduces us into “wondering” what Jesus would do if He were with me. We are invited to speculate what would He do. Be aware: Jesus is near. He is doing everything in your life. He is near.
On the other extreme, our culture strips Jesus of His identity as the Son of God, fully divine. Today's culture presents Jesus as merely a historical figure. Worse yet, Jesus is presented as our “buddy”. Our culture wants to think of Jesus as a nice guy who likes the birds, the forest, and all the animals on the list of endangered species. This too is a heresy. By believing in this “chummy” Jesus presented by the culture, we may be seduced in believing that Jesus is about as powerful as Mr. Rogers: they both have good advice and they both are nice. Eh hem ... Jesus is not chummy; Jesus is not Mr. Rogers. Jesus doesn't simply like the birds, the forest, and endangered animals. Jesus Christ crushed evil. Jesus Christ destroyed the sting of death. Jesus Christ is the only person getting you to Heaven. Who is Jesus? Listen to His own words: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19) Jesus Christ is God. He is more powerful than anything in existence.
Jesus Christ is not distant, nor is He Mr. Rogers. Jesus Christ is near. And, the Jesus that is near to you is Power itself. The God who is near to you today can heal your wounds. He can redeem your secret addictions. He can destroy the bondage that enslaves you. He can transform your marriage, your finances, and your fear. He can guide you through your confusion. He can open a way where you don't see a way. Yes, that's Jesus ... and He is with you ... now ... He is near.
He is near you.
© Fr. Mark Toups, 2013
Today @ IPF:
The 169 seminarians in the Seminarians Summer Program are in two classes.
In their first class, 502: Celibacy and Sexuality, for the second day in a row, the men will learn about Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body,” particularly in relation to the spousal meaning of the body and the call to priestly celibacy. In their second class, 503: Spirituality of Diocesan Priesthood, the men will learn more about what it means to be a spiritual physician and how it connects to the spirituality of a diocesan priest.
Great visit with Dad. God's blessings to he and the Cadiere's as they drive back to Cajun Country.
Fly to Philadelphia tonight to speak tomorrow at the National Catholic Bible Conference ... prayers welcomed.
Today's Quote from Pope Benedict XVI:
“God never abandons his children, he never forgets them. He is above us and is able to save us by his power. At the same time, he is near to his people, and through his Son Jesus Christ he has wished to make his dwelling place among us.”
― Homily in Revolution Square , Havana, Cuba , March 28, 2012