Seeking Praise – Good News for March 18

18 03 2010

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews, “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.

But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

The Daily Path: “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”

Driven. Relentless pursuit of success. Stature. Acceptance. These are a few of the things that come to mind when I read this passage from today’s Gospel. I know them because they have been a part of my being. For most of my life, going back to a very early age, I have yearned for the acceptance of others. In that pursuit I have led a very shallow life. I gladly accept praise from my brothers and sisters in an attempt to heal what Fr. Richard Rohr would call my “woundedness”, but only now do I see the false self behind this.

In recent times I have come to know the road that so many millions travel each day. Need, anxiety, and despair fill the vast majority of lives on earth, but they have never been part of my experience. In my life I have never known real worry. I have never truly held the hands that reached out to me in deepest despair. But now God has given me the chance to walk in the shoes of my brothers and sisters. And in doing so, He has begun to remove the false self that has prevented me from embracing the leper.

But why has He done this?

I can’t completely answer that. I’m still in the midst of it and have little perspective to analyze the situation – See? I’m still analyzing instead of trusting His plan! – But since I am an imperfect being, I will indulge my imperfection and offer this analysis: Perhaps God is taking me down this road to activate the radical grace within me, so that I will finally stop pursuing the acceptance of others (in all its forms) and start pursuing the only acceptance that matters… the praise of my Father in heaven.

Room to Chat: Father, you are allowing me to touch the wounds of your Son, the Christ. In doing so you have given me the ability to believe in You as never before. Continue to give me, and all who travel down this road, the courage and resolve to continue onward. Keep us in your light so that we may always see the way to You.





Ephphatha! – Good News for February 12

12 02 2010

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (“Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Daily Path: This is one of my favorite passages in the Gospel. “He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” We also know that He makes the blind see. And in these words I see a nice analogy for the wonder of accepting God into our life.

When I finally re-embraced God after so many years, I was able to “experience” my weakness, and, as some would say, my woundedness. In this ongoing experience, God provides me with the ability to overcome them. Through Him, my eyes were opened. I’ve been given the ability to see the problems in my life from a new perspective and accept them. This isn’t SuperVision because I still miss a lot, but at least my eyes are open to seeing what I once ignored… or perhaps a better way to put that is: to see what I once hid from. And, by opening my ears to hear the Word of God, I am better able to open my mouth and reclaim the voice that will bring about change in my life.

Enjoy these passages! They illustrate the miraculous healing that God provides when we are willing to “open” ourselves to Him. Is it any wonder that the people Jesus touched couldn’t keep their mouths shut about these miracles? They were truly moved by the Good News each experienced! And so am I.