The New Gasparian
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A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Saturday, November 02, 2002

When I am preparing Sunday homilies I do not often look to the second reading, concentrating mostly on the Gospel and maybe on the first reading. So often I never even hear the second reading until it is read on Sunday. Thanks to a heads up from Precious Blood Companion Maureen Lahiff my attention was brought to this passage a lttle earlier. The first sentence of this Sunday's second reading is the passage I chose for my ordination card on the occasion of my Priestly ordination. It would have worked nicely into the homily too. It looks like a perfect antidote for the problems Jesus picks on in his Gospel.

Brothers and sisters: We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children. With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well, so dearly beloved had you become to us.

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:31 PM link
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Tradition or tradition
Thoughts on Sunday's Gospel

Tradition with a capital T, Sacred Tradition is the presence of Jesus handed on to succeeding generations just as he was present in the beginning.

Tradition with a small "t" stands for the way we have done things around here for the past few years. These are changeable, different with each culture, reflecting our human desires. These will be known in this article as (t)raditions. These are good and come from a good place, but they can be used to ill effect as we see in the gospel.

In every community there is that little something called
the (t)radition.

This is how we do things...
This is the status quo...
We only do things certain ways
We Tried that before!
You aren't the Kind of Person we are looking for.

The (t)radition may include something as simple as
the traditions of this parish, or this family, or this school or workplace.

Or it may be as serious as a group or individual determining what kind of people deserve our attention or our help.

The (t)radition allows us to invite some people in
and it allows us to keep some people out
or to send them to another room
so they are out of sight
and they don't cause any trouble.

Every community tends towards a (t)radition
every family
knows what the (t)radition is
even if they don't call it that
even if they are not consciously aware of the walls and barriers they put up.

The message of today's Gospel is
Find the (t)radition
and get rid of it.

It may be alright for the Empress Hotel, or for IBM, or for _____
But there is no place for it in the Christian Community
The (t)radition Jesus criticizes in this Gospel passage
is the use of titles and positions for personal benefit rather than for the service of others.
Jesus was so against the use of titles,
not only did he ask us not to use them among ourselves,
Jesus did not want anybody to call him by any title.

the titles were essentially elitist.
They were the titles of (t)radition.
they created barriers between people.
They were the exact opposite of what Jesus came to do.

Do you remember the story
Jesus was talking to his disciples
and he said that the messiah must suffer
and be put to death
and Peter took him aside and said
God forbid that anything like that should ever happen to you
and Jesus replied
get away from me
you are a temptation to me
you are not thinking as God thinks:(friend and companion)
but you are thinking as human beings think:(messiahs are in control).

This is the (t)radition about what it meant to be messiah.

Messiahs are in control
Messiahs are always victorious
Messiahs don't suffer

Jesus did not want to be known as Messiah
He wanted to be friend and companion to each and every person
If we came to him only as Messiah and Lord
we would be placing a distance between us
a barrier between us
that Jesus came to remove.

He wants us to come to him barrier free
and he wants others to be able to come to us barrier free.

Jesus was aware that by calling him a Messiah,
they were making him an elite.
Jesus was aware that our use of titles for ourselves
tends to make us an elite.

In God's kingdom, there are no elites.

In our Society we use titles as a gesture of respect
and a means to signify that a person has a certain proficiency.
If you are able to put a title before your name
Dr., Rev.
or initials after your name
M.A, Ph.D
Suddenly you may be able to command more respect
or maybe more money for your services.

This respect can be misused and has been misused.
Those who use these titles have to make a choice.
We can seek to impose the (t)radition that comes with the title or position.
or we can choose to serve the rest
in response to Jesus words.

Father, Mother
These are also titles of respect
and roles of service in our society.

The words of Jesus are important for these to hear as well.
The power of these people comes from their example and their labor
and not because any (t)raditions they may set up.

And there are many without titles.
People with out title or position can also be tempted to this (t)radition. By the forcefulness of their personality or their opinions they might compel others to see things their way.

Each of us is called by this Gospel.
to look at our relationships with other people
and ask the question of ourselves:

Is it love I bring
or is it control?

Each of us is called to move away from any (t)radition
we may live by,
anything that creates a barrier between us and any other person.
Are we carrying the burdens of another
or do we place an obstacle in their path?

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 11:16 PM link
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