debes aprende cómo arrodillarse

Desde el día cuando Adán y Eva le dieron la espalda a la Gracia de Dios, la humanidad hemos estado tratando de recuperar esta relación con Dios – mirando hacia Dios para que El nos de perdón, dirección, y salvación – buscamos regresar de nuevo a esa unión íntima con nuestro creador, como cuando en el jardín de Edén. Dios nos ha dado su plan para nuestra salvación; cuál si la seguimos, nos lleva a nuestra herencia original. Solo necesitamos seguirla. Pero, como la historia de la humanidad nos demuestra, nos cuesta trabajo seguir el plan, esta dirección que Dios nos ha dado para regresarnos a nuestra casa.

 La biblia está llena de nuestras luchas de alcanzar a Dios. Vemos esto en cada libro desde Génesis a las últimas cartas del Nuevo Testamento. Las historias de la Torre de Babel, y de Noe, la nación Judía con sus Jueces y después sus Reyes, todas nos hablan del hombre que intenta recuperar esa relación íntima. La reacción de la gente a la misión de Jesús en la tierra y las letras de San Pablo, de San Pedro y de otros demuestran la dificultad de la humanidad en la comprensión del mensaje. Y, por supuesto, la historia hasta hoy en día nos demuestra que ese hombre, dentro y fuera de la iglesia, le cuesta trabajo el acercarse a Nuestro Señor. Hay excepciones, y las honramos, los santos conocidos y desconocido han encontrado la manera; pero en general no henos logrado unirnos con Dios.

 No es debido a la falta de la dirección – Cristo nos ha dado todos lo que necesitamos para seguirlo. El problema está con nosotros – estamos mirando en la dirección equivocada. Miramos a las alturas e intentamos continuamente encontrar una manera para poder nosotros mismos elevarnos al nivel de Dios; pensamos que este es el método de recuperar esta relación. Pero no es a las alturas que debemos mirar. La banda de rock U2, que de vez en cuando pone mensajes cristianos en su música la puso muy bien en la canción, Mysterious Ways que dice “si quieres besar el cielo, debes aprende cómo arrodillarse”; suena bonito aunque no muy teológico y sin embargo tiene algo de verdad. Si queremos encontrar a Dios y recuperar la relación original que no se ven a elevar a la humanidad al nivel de Dios, tenemos que rebajarse a su nivel y que nos llevará de vuelta a uno con nuestro Señor!

 La segunda lectura de hoy, para mí, es uno de los pasos más hermosos de la Escritura. Cada semana tengo el privilegio de rezar esta oración al rezar la vigilia de víspera de domingo; y me llega cada vez. En este paso de San Pablo vemos en una versión corta de la trayectoria que necesitamos tomar para recuperar nuestra relación con nuestro Padre Divino. Dios, a través de Jesús nos demuestra el camino a nuestra casa celestial. Dios mismo siguió este camino, nos tenemos que arrodillar para alcanzar las alturas de Dios, las alturas del amor.

 Nos dice San Pablo que Jesús: “quien, siendo por naturaleza Dios, no consideró el ser igual a Dios como algo a qué aferrarse.”

 ¡Jesucristo – Dios mismo!  El creador glorioso y Todopoderoso no necesitó ser majestuoso para salvar a su pueblo. Si hubiera querido Él habría podido desde su trono divino mandar nos a estar en unión con él.  Pero no lo no hizo, porque hacer decisiones sin tomar en cuenta la voluntad de la otra persona esto no es amor.  El poder, sin importar lo benévolo que es, sigue siendo coerción.

 San Pablo nos dice: “Por el contrario, se rebajó voluntariamente, tomando la naturaleza de esclavo y haciéndose semejante a los seres humanos”

 Dios vino a nosotros, Él se bajó del cielo para estar entre nosotros, vivir con nosotros, sentir todo lo que sentimos. Él quiso ser uno de nosotros, quiso conocernos.  Él quiso caminar con nosotros, y con nosotros sigue caminando. Era con nosotros que Él nos elevaría al hogar de su Padre.

 San Pablo continúa: “Y al manifestarse como hombre, se humilló a sí mismo y se hizo obediente hasta la muerte,  ¡y muerte de cruz!”

 San Pablo exclama, “Por eso Dios lo exaltó”. Estas acciones de Cristo, de Dios, de rebajarse a los que estaban en miseria, los que necesitaban ayuda; esta acción de mirar solo al prójimo y no a sí mismo, es qué lo exalta.

 El Papa en varias entrevistas y artículos dice que Dios es grande exactamente porque Él se hizo pequeño. Que Dios es siempre grande es una verdad absoluta, aunque la entendamos o no; pero lo qué el Papa está intentando decir es que si Dios no viene a nosotros, no se rebaja a su creación; no supiéramos de la grandeza de Dios porque no sentiríamos su amor por nosotros. Sería un creador reservado que no entenderíamos.

 El mensaje que Dios nos envía, es que si este plan era bastante para Dios, es definitivamente bastante para nosotros porque es básico – integral para que nosotros podamos hacernos en su imagen. El hecho de rebajarnos, como Dios lo hizo, es el mismo amor que nos trajo a Jesús. Este primer paso que tomamos arrodillados, es el camino al cielo; es la relación íntima que Adán y Eva compartieron con Dios en Edén.

 ¿Estamos dispuestos a rebajarnos, a ésos en necesidad, para poder encontrar a Dios? ¿Es nuestro amor al señor, el verdadero amor que puede ser satisfecho solamente amando ésos alrededor de nosotros? ¿O hemos prometido en palabras y hemos fallado en nuestras acciones como el segundo hijo hizo en nuestro evangelio?

 Necesitamos examinar nuestra vida, para reflejar honestamente en nuestros deseos y en cómo corresponden a lo que hizo el Señor por nosotros. Esto puede ser doloroso – los que viven en la oscuridad ven la luz de Dios con miedo y hasta dolor. Pero necesitamos enfrentar nuestras faltas y deseos si es que vamos a viajar con el Señor. Necesitamos permitir que Dios, atraves de sus enseñanzas en la iglesia, nos ayude con nuestra decisión diaria de seguir al Señor. Y ésta es la buena nueva del evangelio de hoy: Jesús nos da dos ejemplos, el primero nos demuestra que podemos cambiar de los caminos que nos llevan lejos de Dios y podemos escoger los caminos de Cristo, los caminos de la vida eterna. Todo lo que necesitamos recordar es que debemos ayudar a ésos a nuestro alrededor a hacer lo mismo.

 

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Learn how to Kneel

Ever since Adam and Eve turned their back on God’s grace mankind has been striving to regain this relationship with God – reaching up to God for forgiveness, guidance and salvation – once again being in intimate union with our creator as in the Garden of Eden.  God has given us His plan of salvation; which if followed, leads us to our original inheritance. We just need to follow it.  But, as the history of mankind shows us we seem to have a great deal of trouble in following this plan, this path that God has given us to bring us home.

 The Bible is full of our struggles to reach God.  We see this in every book from Genesis to the last New Testament letters.  The stories of the Tower of Babel, and Noah, the early Jewish nation with their Judges and then their Kings all speak of man trying to regain that intimate relationship.  People’s reaction to Jesus’ mission on earth and the letters of St. Paul, St. Peter and others show the troubles of mankind in understanding the message.  And, of course, history down to today shows that man, within the Church, and without, has trouble coming together with our Lord.  There are exceptions, and we honor these, the saints both known and unknown have found the way; but in general we just don’t seem to have an easy time becoming one with God.

 It isn’t due to the lack of direction and guidance – Christ has given us all we need to follow Him.  The problem is with us –we just seem to be looking in the wrong direction.  We continually look to the heights and try to find a way that we can elevate ourselves to God’s level; thinking that is how to regain this relationship.  But it isn’t upwards that we should be looking.  The rock band U2, who every so often puts Christian messages in their music put it very well in the song  Mysterious Waysif you want to kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel.”; cute and no doubt not very theological sounding but true none the less.  If we want to meet God and regain the original relationship we don’t look to raise mankind to God’s level; we need to stoop to His level and that will bring us back into one with our Lord!

 Today’s second reading, for me, is one of the most beautiful passages in scripture.  Every week I get to pray this when praying Sunday Vigil Vespers; and it strikes me every time.  In this passage from St Paul we see in a condensed version the path we need to take to regain our intended relationship with our Heavenly Father.  God, through Jesus shows us the way home.  God himself followed this path to lead us.  We lower ourselves to reach the heights of God, the heights of Love itself.

 Jesus: ‘Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.’ St Paul says. 

Jesus Christ – God himself!  The all powerful and glorious creator didn’t need to be majestic to save His people.  He could have just sat in His heavenly home and willed us to be at one with Him.  But He didn’t.  This wouldn’t be Love would it; deciding something for someone else? Power regardless of how benevolent it is still coercive.

 ‘Rather, he emptied himself taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness.”  St Paul tells us.

Instead; God came to us, He lowered himself from the heavens to be among us, to live, to experience all that we experience.  He wanted to be us, to know us.  He would walk, and is walking in our shoes.  It was with us that He would raise us to His Father’s home.

and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.’  St. Paul continues.

‘Because of this, God greatly exalted him.’  St Paul exclaims.  These actions by Christ, by God, of lowering himself to those who were in trouble, those who needed help; this action that looked only to the other and not to Himself is what exalts Him.

 The Holy Father in various interviews and articles likes to tell us that God is great precisely because He made himself small.  That God is always great is an absolute truth, whether we know it or not; but what the Holy Father is trying to point out is that if God didn’t come to us, didn’t lower himself to His creation; we wouldn’t really know the greatness of God because we wouldn’t feel His Love for us.  It would be an aloof creator that we couldn’t understand very well.

 But the message God sends us – shows us, is that if this action plan was good enough for God, it is definitely good enough for us because it is constituent for us- integral – for we are made in His image.  This lowering ourselves, as God did, to each other; instead of trying to pull ourselves up toward God is the same self-giving love that brought Him to us.  This first step made on our knees is the path to Heaven; it is the intimate relationship that Adam and Eve shared with Him in Eden.

 So we have to ask ourselves, do we desire to kiss the sky enough to kneel first?  Are we willing to lower ourselves to those in need to be able to meet God?  Is our love of the Lord that true love that can only be fulfilled by loving those around us?  Or have we promised in words and failed in our actions as the second son did in the Gospel?

 We need to take stock of our situation in life, to honestly reflect on our true desires and how they correspond to what the Lord did for us.  This can be painful – those living in the darkness of self-deception find God’s light very intimidating, indeed painful.  But we need to face our faults and our desires if we are to journey with the Lord.  We need to allow God, through His teachings in the Church to help us with our daily decision of following the Lord.  And this is the good news from today’s Gospel: Jesus gives us two examples and the first example shows us that we can change from whatever path we are now on, that leads away, to the path of Christ, the path of eternal life.  All we need to remember is that we need to help those around us to do the same.

 

Heart first, intellect next

God revealed himself to humanity and ever since then mankind is always striving to better understand Him and our relationship.  We continually use our intellect and studies to deepen our awareness and understanding of God.  It is very important as God Himself tells us through Isaiah:  “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon Him while He is near.(Is 55:6).

It is important to note that this prophecy was given to the Jews while they endured the Babylon captivity.  While they were strangers in a foreign land; while they struggled to hold to their Jewish identity among the masses of Babylonians. All that was important to God’s chosen ones had been taken from them, their king, their land, their temple – the only thing left was their faith and their customs surrounding it.  They had to find ways in which to practice the first and hold on to the second in this exile; the pressures to succumb to the surrounding culture must have been enormous.  But they held on, they survived, indeed their understanding of the Lord grew.  They grew because of their total submission to the will of God.  They understood that though they tried to come to a more intimate knowledge of God, God was still so far above their capacities they wouldn’t; couldn’t; understand Him completely. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. (Is 55:8-9) But that was ok – intellectual understanding of God wasn’t the key to salvation – surrendering to God’s will was.  It was the heart that mattered ultimately.

Using the intellect to understand God is a necessity for man, we need to come to a better understanding of how God’s word relates to the times we live in.  It is the mission of the Church to do just that.  But, as with many different theologians, historical-critical scholars and others, the temptation to separate the ‘surrender to God’s will’ from our intellectual growth becomes overwhelming.  It is this constant guard that we are called to each day.  We need to always live our life through our belief in God.  So each day, as we go through our lives let us remember and pray the words of the father of the boy with demons in Mark’s Gospel “I do believe, help my unbelief!(Mk 9:24)