Today’s Thoughts: I have always been a bit jealous of the scribe in today's Gospel because Jesus says at the end of the exchange that the scribe is not far from the Kingdom of God. For me it would be a comfort to know that I was not far from the Kingdom. It is one of my greatest worries. I try to live a good and faithful life but there are times when I look around and wonder if I have missed the boat! I listen to people talk about their faith, I see their actions, I am aware of what they think is important and valuable in terms of faith, church, belief and religion and I wonder if I have taken the wrong path.
Sometimes I wonder if what I believe brings me close to the Kingdom? The Church as it stands today seems a far cry from the Church that Jesus seems to be putting together as we read the Gospel. Our religious leaders often, not always, seem to be closer to the scribes and Pharisees than to the disciples of Jesus. The institution we call Church often seems closer to the institution that Jesus often challenged and confronted during his ministry.
We seem to take some words in the scriptures at face value, but others are glossed over and interpreted in ways other than what they say. We seem to be absolutely sure of what Jesus said, meant or wanted in certain situations and yet we discount or ignore other things because they don't seem to fit into the institution.
I pray. I try to love whomever I meet. I truly value my relationship with God. I care about people no matter who they are and what they have done. I try to find God in all people. I value life in all forms. I want to be of help to people who struggle. I want to be a welcoming, forgiving person, religious and priest. I want to help people know and believe in God. Yet at times I am not sure whether I am on the right path. I don't always pray in traditional ways. I am more willing to accept a person where they are even if they don't fit into the laws of the institution. I want to dialog. I want to find a way for all to be close to the Kingdom. I don't want to judge. I don't want to be self-righteous and I certainly don't have all the answers.
I want to live Hosea's words today, I want to return to the Lord, but I am not always sure the institution takes me in that direction. I live to be a man of faith, I live to be a man of hope and I live to be a man of love. I pray that like the scribe I am a man close to the Kingdom of God!
Have a blessed Friday 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...