August 9th – 10th – 11th
Our faith community of St. John the Baptist, founded on the word of God; welcomes all with charity and love….both the strong of Spirit and those who search. As part of the Universal Church, we acknowledge that God has uniquely blessed everyone with abundant gifts. We celebrate the differences that make all of us equal in the eyes of the Lord….using our blessings to provide all who join us in Eucharist with a heart-felt sense of family and communion. For the Lord has brought you to our door….you are a stranger here but once.
July 14, 2019
We learn to barter as small children. Told to eat their vegetables a child replies, “Do I have to eat them all?” Many a parent has bargained through dinner, “Come on, three more bites.” “Ok, you don’t have to eat the crusts, but eat half the carrots.” Wheedling our way out of unpleasant tasks, seems to be inherent in the human character. Loving, but firm parents need “tough love” to hold children to a higher standard, doing what’s best for them no matter how hard it is for everyone concerned.
In today’s gospel Jesus gives the scholar a large, difficult task: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Instinctively, the scholar barters: “And who is my neighbor?” Faced with a plateful of spinach, peas and lima beans, the scholar hopes he only has to eat the peas to be excused. Jesus, like any good parent, shows the scholar the best kind of “tough love.” He firmly holds up the higher standard. We are to love everyone, even the most “un-lovable” people we encounter. Those are the rules of God’s table – no wheedling allowed. Just love, tough love, and God’s Holy Spirit to enable us to live it.
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The command to love God with our whole heart, our whole soul and our whole mind and our neighbor as ourselves might get a little blurry when Jesus couples it with the familiar story of the good Samaritan, but that’s ok. It takes a bit of double vision to live out Jesus’ words. With the first glance we see the Samaritans of our own society, who may not be victims of disease or financial ruin, but instead are silent victims of prejudice. Jesus calls us to welcome these shunned ones back firmly into our folds. Then we take our second glance, at the more obvious victims of life: the destitute, the ill, the orphaned. God gave us two hands, two feet and two eyes to love in both these directions, just as Jesus did. Do you have double vision today?