Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Ordinary Day's Reflection

I had not written this for blogging purposes, but here goes.  The following is a reflection on today's readings.

“ ‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 ‘Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; 46on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”

Christian living is by its very nature paradoxical.  For disciples self-giving precipitates life in abundance.  Poverty of self and obedience fall on the road to freedom. 
Though he was not a disciple of Jesus Christ, the prophet Jeremiah experienced the complex nature of grace (poverty and obedience).   He laments the weighty expectations of the Lord for him.  While I can appreciate, and even identify, with the Hebrew prophet, he is what he is; Jeremiah is a man who wrestles with God, nature and grace.     
As today’s gospel demonstrates, God’s kingdom is a desirable treasure; It is true freedom and perfect joy.  Granted a little mysterious, perhaps even allusive, the kingdom of which Jesus speaks is more wonderful than precious pearls, great scotch, or fine wine. 
As father Francis taught us, to receive and follow Jesus Christ is a perfect joy.  Of course while Francis could preach such, he too with Jeremiah and many of us, suffered the temptation of alternative perfections.   Rather than seek after perfect joy, we Christians tend after vainer goals.  Such things as perfect conduct, perfect deeds, ..…performance, health, happiness and security are not, I am afraid, the stuff of freedom.      
When we can praise God with gratitude for all that we are, only then do we experience true freedom and perfect joy.  The kingdom of heaven may be mysterious and somewhat allusive, but as Jesus tells us today, it is worth digging up and buying into.  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

In the shadows of red coloured Rockies, near Estes Park, Colorado (famous for Jack Nicholson’s The Shining), I miss the kickoff of Canadian Football Season.  Attending a 30 day “vows retreat”, it’s time to react to my surroundings.
Canada Day –what is that? Is that your “Independence Day”?  
Canada, or Confederation, Day is hardly a celebration of independence: liberty, equality, private property.  These values and my American confreres will have their turn on the 4th of July; not part of my history.   Interdependence, mutuality, cooperation and compassion are words that come to mind when I reflect on Canada.  The closest we came to a war of independence involved fending off American Imperialists in 1812. We won that battle, and have been afraid of our own shadow ever since.  
In these parts, Canadians are known for their humility and ability to compromise.   In a global context, there is little about which we can boast.  We are a threat to none and dependent on many.
Canada Day celebrates how people have come together.  The brainchild of two European nations, our country is diverse if not plural.  What we have is a flawed and far from homogenous communion, but it seems to work.  We stake no claim of superiority; with God’s help we witness to the gift of minority.
My prayer for Canada today is that we follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ, and persevere in the vision of our founders:  multicultural, multilingual, multi-faith, etc.  May we be always be hospitable, receptive and kind –a refuge for strangers on the road.