Today’s Thoughts: “So that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete,” the closing words of the Gospel today. Have you ever noticed that Jesus always seems to be thinking about others? He always seems to want the best for the people around him. All he asks is that we believe in the value of love; the love of God for us, the love of Jesus for us and our ability to love others in the same way.
The communities of faith that we hear about in the Acts of the Apostles are challenged over and over by Jesus’ commandment to love. They value God’s love, they value Jesus’ love thus how they live, grow and change as a community of faith demands that they extend this love to others. The laws, the rules, the regulations change because the community tries to be inclusive and loving. The community tries to look beyond its small world to a larger world. It is not easy. It takes openness, dialog, discussion and sometimes change.
I read an article a number of years ago in which a member of our Church leadership used an example from his childhood about having to wash his dirty hands before eating. It was a rule in his family and even if there were guests they had to wash their dirty hands before eating. A simple story and one that many of us can relate to I certainly can as hand washing before meals was a rule in my house too.
However, to use the washing of dirty hands to address the complex struggles inclusion in the church today seems a bit simplistic and invalid. Imaging people dealing with weighty issues like sexuality, sexual orientation, birth control, marriage, divorce, just to name a few, as people with dirty hands seems a bit simplistic. Equating the washing of dirty hands with some profound struggles in life seems disrespectful to people created in the image and likeness of God.
Yes, we have many challenges to the community of faith today. Yes, there are no easy answers which makes the job of leadership and faith difficult but to say all people have to do is wash their hands make no sense to me!
God’s love, Jesus’ love is a gift and yes there is a condition, the condition is our love for God, for others and for ourselves. This condition is not easy within our human nature and it is certainly not as simple as washing our hands. The early church knew this, and I think so do we!
Have a great Thursday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...