Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on being an example. How should we act? What do we do? How should we live in this world? Listen to this podcast of his reflection for the 5th Sunday of Easter to find out. Please read John 13:31-35. For Audio, “Read More” below. #GreatCatholicPreaching #Catholic #BenU1887 #GreatPreaching #John13 #Love #Glory #ChristFarewellAddress #Sermons #Homilies
For Benedictine University and MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 4/28/2013, the 5th Sunday of Easter.
Please pause this audio and read John 13:31-35.
At a Memorial Service last Wednesday, April 24, 2013, Officer Sean Collier was memorialized amidst everything he loved. There were over 1,500 police officers from as far away as Ireland at the event. There were fire trucks, ladders extended, as a huge American flag hung down from their top rungs. Bag pipes played, taps were heard and a police helicopter saluted this young 27 year old police officer who gave his life in the line of duty. All this, amidst a crowd of 5,000 who came to pay their repect and salute this young man who was killed by the two young men who set off bombs during the Boston Marathon.
My favorite quote from the proceedings came from Officer Collier’s stepbrother, Rob Rogers who said, “Are you kidding me? He would love this. You’ve got sirens. Flashing lights. Formations. People saluting. Bagpipes. Taps. The American flag. He would have loved it. He was born to be a police officer, and he lived out his dreams.”
Yet, what I want you to notice about this well-deserved spectacle for Officer Collier is this: We know he was loved, valued, and respected by the police community by how they treated his death. This is not an unusual case for police. Police officers show their fraternity by being their-for-life for the children of a fellow officer killed in the line of duty. Police officers take on a character of valor because it is part of what it means to be a Police officer. You know they are cops by how they treat each other, stand behind each other, take care of each other. They would even travel around the world to be present at a funeral of a valiant officer they never knew, like the flag from the police district from Ireland which flew among the other police districts represented at Officer Collier’s memorial.
Last week, I spoke to you about the young man who attended the Spring retreat we have here at Benedictine University. For the first two days, he was annoyed by the joy of the people who were loving, kind and happy. On the last day, it hit him that the reason why this group was so loving to each other was because they had all experienced tangibly the love of God.
I have to admit it, the Koinonia Retreat Community here at Benedictine is loving, kind, generous beyond measure, gracious in amazing ways and good without any explicable reason if you did not know they were Jesus people. Outside of the retreat and the Masses they attend together, this group is more than just a clique. They reach out to each other. They invite each other to outings, trips, evenings, etc. When one of them is sick, they tend to that person’s needs. Most of all, they pray for each other. I have been in ministry for nearly 30 years, and they amaze me.
Today, in the passage from the Gospel of John, we see Jesus turn to his disciples after Judas had left to betray him. Here, in the face of betrayal, conspiracy, treachery, embezzlement and evil, Jesus turns to his disciples and tells them he will be glorified. The word “glorify” in the Greek is the same word from which we get the term “doxology”. Its root is significant because it is derived from the sense of seeing something amazing and reacting with awe. To “glorify” the Lord, is to tap into the wonder and amazement we have at his goodness, his holiness, his AWESOMENESS. When he says in this passage, “Now is the Son of man glorified,” I believe he is talking about two things.
First, I think Jesus is talking about the glory of his work. He is talking about going to the death and rising again so that the world might be saved through him. It is a grueling cruel exposure, his work on the Cross, but it must be done and he is willing to do it. It is really amazing that he could withstand the beating and the Crucifixion. When you stop to think of whether or not you could do that, you have to be in awe of him. He faced all that human cruelty had to give and he defeated it. Wow.
Secondly, he is calling his people, the apostles and disciples, and all who dare to follow him, to be people who face the cruelty of the world and choose to love one another. He is calling us to deny ourselves and be concerned about each other. He is calling us to care for each other, look after each other’s needs. He is calling us to sell all we have and give it to the poor. He is calling us to give to the Church so that it would give to each as they had need, as it says in Acts 2:45.
In the face of a cruel selfish and self aggrandizing world, Jesus is calling us to stand out for our humility. In a world that is building fences to keep people out, he is telling us to tear down the fences within our hearts and let each other in. In a world that judges us by how much we accumulate in wealth and prestige, he is calling us to deny ourselves and give until it hurts. In a world that is just as treacherous, betraying and evil as the conspiracy in which Judas participated, Jesus is calling us to be gentle, without guile, honest and good to one another.
We, the followers of Jesus the Christ, are to be a community to which the world looks and is blown away by how we love each other. We are to leave people scratching their heads why we would give away our valuables to them when they have need. We are to stun them with our hospitality, generosity and our deep, deep concern for how THEY are, more than how we can get out the next thing we want to say.
Just like the scene from Boston, where Sean Collier is remembered by his police family; and by the Benedictine Koinonia Retreat Community that tends to each other’s needs and prays for each other, we are called to be people who go the second mile, and the third, and the fourth, and the seventy times seventh mile for one another.
If you are going to a Church that isn’t like this, then find one that is. Start a group within your church that is like this and invite others to be in it. Start a prayer club on your block and invite others from the community to come into it to pray. What other ideas can you think of that God might be calling you to do so that there is a genuine community of Jesus people centered around the Eucharist loving each other without the threat of romance or guilt? Wherever it is, whatever it is, do it today. Amen? Amen.
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