Friday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
January 13, 2023
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our Gospel tells of a memorable event – so memorable that it is described in detail.
Jesus preaches from a neighborhood living room. Every access point to the house is blocked with excited listeners and miracle-seekers. Jesus has been corralled by the enthusiastic faithful.
Then some latecomers arrive carrying their paralyzed friend. It is easy to imagine that these are young guys, because Jesus later calls the paralytic “Child”. Perhaps their friend was injured in a soccer game or diving accident in which they all had participated. Perhaps, as well as carrying him, they are carrying the burden of “survivor guilt”.
Whatever the situation, these friends are determined that the young man shall see Jesus. Confronted with the barricading crowd, they climb up on the roof, opening the turf plates to make an entry point. Jesus had to laugh as he saw to rooftop disappearing above him!
Can we peel away the many barricades to such relationship? We have only our limited human images of God. While these can help us pray, they can also box God.
Faulty theology and exaggerated ritual can, believe or not, put a lid on God’s power!
It is important to read, listen, and grow within good theology. One measure of that value is the degree of limitation any “theology” puts on God. A theology that limits God to male, white, Catholic, Evangelical, Republican or Democrat (or whatever religion) – that kind of false theology limits us as well.
A theology that is used as validation for political, economic, or moral domination distorts God, making God an idol of our own greed and selfishness. Such ”theologies” have, for centuries, made excuses for slavery, apartheid, pogroms, wars and holocausts.
Let’s try to “take the roof off” our theology today. Let’s be sure our tightly held perceptions and beliefs are really leading us to the absolute freedom of a God Who cherishes all Beings, all Creation.
Poetry: God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Music: God Beyond All Names ~ Bernadette Farrell