“Fear no one,” Jesus says. Not long after, he nuances this command: Fear only the one who can destroy the soul along with the body. Soul killing may sound esoteric, but it’s pretty common nowadays. At times it feels like someone has murdered the soul of America while no one was looking.
Exploring the Word
I’ve got a wooden box that once belonged to a friend of mine. When this friend died, this beautifully carved box became mine. I wasn’t sure at first, but gradually its new purpose has become clear. It has become my memory box.
Years back, I belonged to a parish near a major theological school. Our proximity to this wealth of learning meant that now and then we were dubiously treated to guest homilists who were at work on their Ph.D.s. One religious sister must have been doing her doctoral thesis on the Trinity because she was asked to speak to us every year on this feast without fail.
These days, it’s not enough to say what you mean. If you really want to communicate, you also have to frame your idea in such a way that it will be embraced by the audience you wish to reach. This involves being sensitive to things like inclusive language and multicultural idioms, not to mention local concerns and bilingual accommodations.
When athletes in racing, basketball, or other sports leave the ground even for a few seconds, they are said to “catch air.” Especially when it comes to basketball, most of those players have a higher perspective than the rest of us who are only walking around!
Here’s a preacher’s fantasy, if ever there was one. Newly ordained deacon Philip goes down to Samaria and proclaims Christ to the unsuspecting population. The crowd gives him its unanimous attention—a miracle in its own right. The unclean spirits in the populace flee before the golden words of gospel truth.
I come from a long line of Type A personalities. Some of them were tyrants, unable to rein in the need to dominate and orchestrate every aspect of their lives—and their families’ lives. Others in my genetic circle took personal development to heart and got to work on letting go and letting God, which is the primary task of faith.
In the not-distant past, though it feels very distant indeed in this age of the pandemic, friends of mine were talking about a great shopping experience they had had (remember those?): what a haul they brought home, and at such amazing prices!
Near my hometown are the remains of an old route the locals unofficially call the Road to Nowhere. It used to be a paved road to somewhere, obviously; but as civilization would have it, new thoroughfares proved more useful and the old route was not upgraded, fell into disuse, and was eventually abandoned altogether.
Why do you believe what you believe? What makes you so sure that your faith isn’t simply wishful thinking? What do you cling to, when people challenge the tenets of religious belief?