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The kingdom of God is a party

by davesandel on February 15th, 2013

The kingdom of God is a party

Friday, February 15, 2013

First Week of Lent

Matthew 9:15

Jesus said, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?”

Jesus knows his Hebrew scriptures, and he knows Isaiah 58, today’s first reading.  God is not interested in my fasting when “on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits and drive all your laborers, so the fast ends in quarreling and fighting.”

Often toward the end of a fasting day I get a headache, and then I feel irritable.  Quarrelsome.  Sometimes I keep it to myself, sometimes I don’t, and my fast might end in fighting.  Ugly.  Ugh.

Jesus’ presence frees us from the need to fast, but not the need to “set free the oppressed, break every yoke, share bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked and never turn our backs on our own” (Is 58:6-7).  That kind of “alms-giving” might give me a few headaches too, but of a different kind.  These headaches don’t end in fighting; they are resolved in peace and joy.

In what Michael D. O’Brien calls “the underwaters of men’s hearts,” we are susceptible to self-deception.  I often pretend I am doing more than I really am to free, share with, shelter and clothe others.

Jesus invites me to solve this problem by spending time with him, partying with him at the celebration of our wedding.  There I can learn from him, do more of what he is doing, and stop pretending.

Just like a mother, you stand firm and protect your children, Lord.  We are weak and you are strong.  When I use my tiny strength against another, your eyes blaze in anger.  Let me know my weakness, Father, in your sight, in your presence, and thereby discover again and again your strength.

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