Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From the Archives: My Marian Devotion from March 3, 2009

I thought I'd repost this since I am back home watching TV with my mom full time. I think this is one of my better preaches. You gotta love existential theology with hints of marxism. (work=love)

Original post was 4 March 2009 on facebook.

This is my reflection from Tuesday for all to see. Thanks for everyone that was there. The impromptu Q&A was great.

1. I’m not a big fan of miracles. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Why would God come out from the sky and start breaking the laws of physics, laws that God put in place to begin with. It just doesn’t make sense to me. There has to be an explanation for everything. There has to be a clear answer to the question of how. How does water boil? Heat is causing a chemical reaction to the water causing the molecules to speed up. Why is the water boiling? Because I want some tea. There is a reason why we do things. And there is an explanation to why whether or not we know what that explanation is. I don’t know why some people find it so hard to believe that Jesus is present in the eucharist. Years ago when I was working at a restaurant in St. Louis, I had a young woman from England asked me, “So you believe in transubstantiation?” And she asked me in a very “that’s a very ignorant thing to believe” tone. I didn’t know how to respond to her. It just doesn’t occur to me that the eucharist to some people is this fanciful happening that doesn’t make any sense. So I just said to her, “yeah.” My sense of God has taken a very Thomist turn in the past few years. I try to see God in the world and in the natural occurances in the world. God is present all around us. God is present in air we breath. The water we drink. God is present in our very existence. God made everything of this world and stamped it all with the presence of God’s approval. God has created wheat and grapes. We take those gifts and make bread and wine and on the instruction of Jesus, offer this bread and wine up to become his body and blood. It isn’t so much a miracle as it is work. God’s work on earth. And what is work, but an expression of love. How does the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus? Through the epiclesis the priest begs the father to send the holy spirit, the sanctifier, so that the offering may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful, by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God (1105) Why? So that God can be physically present to us. So that God can be seen, touched, smelled, tasted, and heard. A tangible being that connects heaven and earth.

2. I’m not a big fan of the concept of hell or evil; satan. I don’t understand why some poeple have such faith in these things. You better do this or that, because if you don’t, you’re going to hell. If you don’t vote a certain way you are aiding evil. I don’t have much use for what is essentially negative reinforcement. These concepts are used today to further agendas, and create fear, hate, and division. Also, such things were destroyed once and for all on Calvary, never to return again. For me, to say that evil and satan and hell still exist is to say the Crucifixion didn’t work and we all know that the crucifixion is the bright shining moment of the human race for we were set free by the son of man’s great sacrifice We are a post-crucifixion society; the wind is at our back. And in this season of Lent we look back at our time in the desert so that we can appreciate our life of abundance. Of Christ’s redeeming abundance. So what are these things that we call evil if evil was destroyed over two millennia ago? It is the feeling of absence. A void. Not acknowledging the grace that we all have already. God is not some genie in a lamp granting wishes. Each and everyone of us has every single grace and favor from God. Sometimes we forget that. We forget for whatever reason that God is present to us always.

3. There’s not a whole lot you can do when you feel blue. When it’s hard to feel God’s presence in your life. Sometimes, you can’t see the graces God puts right in front of your face, but they’re there. This Christmas was the first time I spent time with my mom in a long while. I hadn’t been home since march. It was the first time in years that I was in the presence of my mom for a significant amount of time. She doesn’t have much money. Her home is poor but it’s hers. It’s my mom’s house. One day we made cookies. She made peanut butter cookies from scratch and they were terrible! I made chocolate chip cookies from a mix and they were delicious. We went to applebee’s one night. Mom took home half her dinner and told me I could have it. Mom’s got a husband that is not my father and he is a pretty cool guy. He backed up all my music files. Mom’s got a little dog that only likes a handful of people. I am one of those people. Mom’s not the most educated Catholic. She’s got all these watchtower pamphlets all over the place. And sure enough Jehovah stopped by. Mom let them in. They told us what they were sent to tell us and then we got to know each other. I told them all about living in New York and passing by the watchtower in Brooklyn all the time. Most of the time I spent with my mom was spent watching tv. She has every single movie channel, and we watched a lot of movies. Me watched this movie from the eighties about escaped mental patients running around New York City, starring Michael Keaton and Christopher Lloyd. We watched The Last King of Scotland. We watched Elf. We must have watched Coming to America at least three times.

4. Never before had it been so apparent that my mom was a gift. A grace bestowed apon me by God to comfort and sustain me. A little old gray haired sign of God’s presence on earth. A testament to God’s work of love. A presence that can’t be denied. The clouds of absence parted and out from the sky shown down on me the rays of God’ sun. I can see it. I can feel it. I can hear it, touch it and taste it. It is tangible. It is present to me. And it came from such a familiar ordinary place. On the couch watching tv with my mom.