Alleluia: Poppin’ Good Faith

Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great,
Pope and Doctor of the Church
Saturday, September 2, 2022

Today’s Readings:

Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings encourage us to live a Spirit-inspired faith rather than one of appearances.

At first, I found our first reading uninspiring. So I did a little research which helped me to appreciate that 1 Corinthians shows us a “toddler Church” trying to discover itself. 

Paul is her teacher, but Paul is not always with her. Other influences, theories and even conspiracies can influence her emerging self-awareness. Some of these influences might include those who think they are in charge, and begin to set rules and roles for the early Church’s life without Paul’s direction.

In today’s passage from Corinthians, Paul uses a lot of sarcasm to warn the community not to get ahead of themselves in shaping their faith community. He wants them not to rely on structures and functions but on the uncontainable power of the Holy Spirit to inspire and create a path for God’s love and mercy in the world.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that everything they have they received. They are not to feel entitled by their gifts but humble, grateful and open to his apostolic teaching and example.

Brothers and sisters:
Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written,
so that none of you will be inflated with pride
in favor of one person over against another.
Who confers distinction upon you?
What do you possess that you have not received?
But if you have received it,
why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?

Jesus is saying the same thing to the Pharisees in our Gospel today. They boast that they are the arbiters and interpreters of the faith.

But faith is not about refraining from corn-picking on the Sabbath! We make rules like this because we are afraid of the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us. So instead, we push God’s Spirit into the confines of a corn husk where we are safe from God’s transformative call that might upset our comfort.

Jesus tells the Pharisees to be like David. Although not faultless, David got it! He lived a life of passionate love for and relationship with God which refused to be confined by imposed definitions.

David and the Temple Bread

Jesus said to them in reply,
“Have you not read what David did
when he and those who were with him were hungry?
How he went into the house of God, took the bread of offering,
which only the priests could lawfully eat,
ate of it, and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.”

Surely there are lessons here for our own Church as we are invited to transformation by the Gospel and by the inspired teaching of Pope Francis. Like Jesus, he is a breaker of corn husks and some are frightened by the charismatic challenges he places before us.

Our Verse assures us that by opening our hearts to the Gospel’s call, we will find true life.

Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the fullness of God except through me.

Poetry: TO LIVE WITH THE SPIRIT – Jessica Powers

To live with the Spirit of God is to be a listener.
It is to keep the vigil of mystery,
earthless and still.
One leans to catch the stirring of the Spirit,
strange as the wind’s will.
The soul that walks where the wind of the Spirit blows
turns like a wandering weather-vane toward love.
It may lament like Job or Jeremiah,
echo the wounded hart, the mateless dove.
It may rejoice in spaciousness of meadow
that emulates the freedom of the sky.
Always it walks in waylessness, unknowing;
it has cast down forever from its hand
the compass of the whither and the why.
To live with the Spirit of God is to be a lover.
It is becoming love, and like to Him
toward Whom we strain with metaphors of creatures:
fire-sweep and water-rush and the wind’s whim.
The soul is all activity, all silence;
and though it surges Godward to its goal,
it holds, as moving earth holds sleeping noonday,
the peace that is the listening of the soul.

In Place of Music: John Michael Talbot speaking on today’s Gospel

And a beautiful song for your quiet:

2 thoughts on “Alleluia: Poppin’ Good Faith

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