MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on how modern and popular philosophies seep into our thought and decision making without us even knowing it.  Why do you do what you do and why should you think about a different Word? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time. Please read Hebrews 2:5-12.

For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 10/7/2012The 27th Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read Hebrews 2:5-12.

Post-modernism, the highly debated era some say we are now in, claims that truth is not a reality.  Post-modernism claims that truth is whatever an individual makes it.  It claims that what you find to be true, is not necessarily true, for me.
New Ageism, a pseudo-spiritual movement, says we are “to get in touch with our inner self.”  New Ageism says we are to meditate and tap the “power within.”
Some of us were taught a thing called Boston Personalism.  Boston Personalism teaches that the person Jesus Christ came, not to release us from captivity to our sin, but to release us to reach our full potential.  Boston Personalism assumes that there is a good person within just waiting to be released by our faith in Jesus Christ.  May I note that the main proponent of Boston Personalism was the last person declared an heretic by the Methodist Church.
 
At other times and from other sources, we were taught that Jesus was a good moral man whose moral teachings are what are important.  If we would just follow his moral law, then we would be able to get to heaven.
So, as you can see, there are many streams of thought running through our lives as we come together to be in worship under one Lord, in one Faith, being united through one Baptism so that we can approach one God and Father of us all.  So, it is not surprising that when someone comes along and says that there is one Truth in Jesus the Son of God come in the flesh that we have people, even in our own Church, that will react with violent words to denounce this Truth as being intolerant.
These people say that we are being heavy handed insisting that there is but one Truth.  They say that we are not “tolerant” because we think that all people may equally come to Christ and be healed of their sin.  But to say that there is One Hope, One Faith, One Baptism, and one God and Father of us all, is to be scandalous in today’s day and age.  We are called scandalous even though we are truly scriptural.
 
One of the parents of a child on a soccer team I once coached and I were talking about what it was like to have Christian Children who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, who died for our sins.  That, of course, presupposes that our children believe that there is sin.  And frankly, it is difficult.
Our children would come home and say, “Bobby says his parents told him that there is no God.”  I told the soccer parent that I told my children, “The reason they say there is no god is because they don’t want to do what God wants them to do.”  I say to you, people who say that there is no god for them are wrong.  They are their own god.  Alas, these folks are in invisible chains.
My children used to come home and be openly concerned for the salvation of some of their play mates.  They should have been at the time.  But it is tough.  We, as the church, can no longer depend upon the society around us to give our children a moral education.  There are no more morals in the post-modern world, but two:
1. Don’t trust authority.
2. Do what pleases you (also said like this, “Be true to yourself.”)
     All of us have bought into it, too.  Myself included.  We do not want to be rejected.  We want to be liked.  We don’t want our neighbors to say, “Oh, you are those intolerant Christians.”  We want Jesus to help us without us trusting him with our lives.
The rich young man in our Gospel lesson for today is disturbed because Jesus tells him to sell all he has and rely upon God for his well being.  How many of us would be willing to give up all we have and give the proceeds to the poor to follow God?  Jesus cuts right to the heart of the matter.  He challenges us to have no other gods but the Father in Heaven alone.
Maybe we don’t realize that we have bought into philosophies that are not Christian.  Maybe we don’t realize what we have in being Christians.  We are challenged to plumb the depths of Christian history and see not just the sins, but the faith and joy of being a Christian.  
That is the premise of St. Paul’s Sermon to the Hebrews.
 
The people who heard Hebrews were people who lived in a time when it was unpopular to hold fast to Christian truths.  It was highly unpopular to say that Jesus was THE Christ, and that we had THE Truth.  So the letter exhorts the people to remember what is going on with God’s word and to remember what the Word of God does and who Jesus Christ is.
When you were a child, didn’t you think you could go to your room and no one could see a thing you were doing?  Don’t we still go into our houses and act as though no one can see how we behave?  Well, the message of the Word of God is that we cannot escape, even in our homes.  God sees.  God knows.
God knows our hearts.  He knows when we do what we are supposed to do.  He knows.  He knows.  He knows.  He is there and he is watching.  Unlike Santa Claus who only rewards us when we are good, God the Father in Heaven seizes us and grabs hold of our heart to enable us to do good that we didn’t think that we were able to do.
 
St. Anselm said that in sin we offend an eternal being.  Because there is an eternal offence, only an eternal being can offer the price for us.  It must be an eternal offering made by a human for our sins against an eternal Creator.  There was only one human who was and is eternal, Jesus Christ.  Some say that it is a petty vengeance filled God who would require an eternal price be paid.  But I say, and the scriptures say, that God was not vengeful in Jesus Christ, he was graceful.  He was and is loving and kind by not expecting us to pay the price for our sins.
Although we may have to live with the effects of our sins in this life, we do not have to pay the ultimate price: death.  See how he loves us!  Simply put, the conflicts we feel at fully embracing Christianity come from our inability to surrender all we have to the Lord.
     Have any of us encountered someone who is depressed?  When we go to comfort them, they lash out at us, “You don’t know what it is like!  You have no idea what it is like!  You have never gone through this before!”?  Well, God takes that argument away from us.  He says, “For we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with our weaknesses, having been put to the test subjected to everything similarly to us but without sin.”
You see, when the Son became human in Jesus, he became subject to all the same temptations with which we are tempted.  We do not have to all suffer the same things to know all about suffering.  We can all be tempted to know what it is like for all of us to be tempted and fail.  Jesus was tempted over and over again to go another route besides that which the Father in heaven wanted him to go.  He said, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless  not   my   will, but yours, be done.”
So, why do we walk around like we don’t have a Savior who knows what it is like to have temptations?  Why do we act as though Jesus is not really there to heal us from our waywardness from the ways of God?
     If you are struggling with the tenets of faith that go contrary to what we have as a political philosophy or a cultural philosophy, take heart!  Jesus, too, asked that the cup be passed from his lips.  He knows how hard it can be to be a Christian in the world.  He knows what it is like to struggle to make a difference in the world.  He overcame those struggles so that he could help us overcome our struggles.
We have all had the joy of having baptisms of babies in our churches.  When anyone is baptized a wonderful thing happens. They are made part of Jesus Christ. They are made part of the divine man who was tempted, suffered and prevailed.  So, in our baptism we are given the gift of prevailing over the hard times in our lives even before they happen.  
We are set free in our baptism because we are a part of Jesus who came, suffered, died and prevailed.  We only need to trust that we are changed through Baptism by the Holy Spirit.  We only need to hold on to Jesus through the bad times.  He knows!  He knows!  He knows!
     So hang on and don’t be true to yourself, be true to Christ Jesus.  Don’t have the person you were when you were born released through your faith in Christ, have the person Jesus has reborn in you released.  Don’t have the power within you released, have the Spirit of God released in you.  When we trust the One who understands our humanity, we too will be transformed to prevail over whatever it is in our lives that is keeping us from doing his will.  Go on! Go for God.  Amen?  Amen.
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