MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on “psuche.” What is it and why is it important and why does it matter? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time or the 20th Sun. after Pentecost to find out. Please read Matthew 22:34-46. For Audio, “read more” below. #GreatChristianPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #Psuche #Soul
For MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 10/26/2014 The 30th Sunday of Ordinary Time or the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 22:34-46 (the Protestant Lection is a little longer and we will include that).
“Psuche,” is a Greek word. It is the word from which we get the word “psyche”. Yet, “psuche” in the Greek, is much more than our mental state, it is our “soul,” which is, of course, our ground being. If you take away our bodies, there remains an eternal being that contains all we are or have been, that is our soul, our “psuche”. It is what God breathed into Adam in Genesis 2.7 that gave all humanity life. When we are formed in the womb and are born, we are given ‘psuche’ so that the flesh can live. Without it, we are dead.
Psuche is the word that Jesus uses when he says in Matthew 10:39 and 16:25 that the, “psuche must be lost before it is found.” In 11:29, “rest for our ‘psuche’” is found in taking the yoke of Jesus upon us. In 12:28 we are told that the Son of Man, Jesus, did not come to be served, but to serve and give his ‘psuche’ as “a ransom on behalf of all.” In 26:38 Jesus says, ‘My ‘psuche’ is very sad to the point of death; remain here and keep awake with me.’”
In a world with camels who ask “What day it is!”, selfies, facebook posts that tell us what someone just ate (with a picture, no less), an entire website dedicated to pictures of things that we find on the internet (called Pinterest), and the long standing, but always superficial ‘have a nice day’ (said in only that way), a word like ‘psuche’ can scare the, well, ‘psuche’ out of anyone. In a world where everything is on the surface, there is just so much that is taken for granted.
When you drive to work, do you realize that the vast majority of the world does not have stop lights? So, the one that you are currently mad at for not letting you get to where you want to go when you want to go there; it is a luxury. The car you are driving? Most people in the world don’t have one. The fact that I have three flat screen TVs (one for each level in my house so that we don’t have to climb stairs, God forbid!) and that we get bent out of shape when it goes out right as Notre Dame is about to score a touchdown, shows how absolutely on the surface we are as human beings. Our entire existence is on the surface, it seems.
I believe that is the reason we get so impatient with one another. It is why we kill for the corner office. It is why we do so much damage to one another. We don’t look at the other person, the person who annoys us so very much at work, at home, etc., and say, “That person is a ‘psuche’, which is loved by God.”
To have a ‘psuche’, a soul, is an eternal thing. We always get it backward. We have an entire industry worth billions upon billions dedicated to preserving the body, but we are lucky if we can get an individual church to give more than what is required to pay the bills to keep the lights on. The body is going to die, but we act like giving up life in this world is the biggest decision of our life. It is not. Jesus points out today, that the biggest decision of our life is what we are going to do with our psuche, our soul.
I could see why people don’t want to bother with religion, let alone a Messiah who asks these kinds of questions. Jesus, faced with yet another encounter with people who want to kill him, goes from preaching to meddling. He pushes the boundaries past the superficial and asks the question, “What are you doing with your soul, your psuche?”
Sometimes, I think we, myself included, treat the church like it is a self-help convenience store. I will just stop in on Sunday and supersize my feel good and be on my way. Yet, the answer that Jesus gives to the trap question for this week from the Pharisees and Saducees, is this:
I am the Lord your God, and I want you to love me with all your heart and all your mind, yes, but I want you to love me with all your psuche, your soul! It is like God saying, “I don’t need another selfie of you. I want an eternal life commitment to our relationship. I gave my only begotten son that you could live with me forever. I gave you your psuche to love me so that you would love others. I gave you your soul so that you would treat my earth like I want it to be treated. I gave you your soul, your psuche, so that you would be transformed beyond the superficial and cling to me like a lover who just can’t get enough.”
Think about it. No one clings to anything that they think is wretched. No one gives their soul to anything they think is deplorable. Yet, God, Jesus, the Lord of David who is David’s son, gave his soul for your ransom because he wants to cling to you. So, even in your most deplorable, sinful, wretched, unwanted existence, God deemed you worthy because of your psuche, your soul to be loveable. You are loveable!
You have a red hot love after you to build you up, not tear you down. You have a friend and confidant who wants to tell you the truth about yourself when no one else will. You have a parent who wants to give you the love that you never got from your earthly parent (if that applies). Whatever it is that you think you don’t have, you have a God who loves you enough to give up his own psuche on the Cross so that you would know what love is. So, by example, he is asking you to love him back-psuche and all. That, my friends, is serious business. We ought to take it very seriously.
If you are listening to this, or you are sitting in the pews on Sundays, you are committed, no doubt. I do not want to diminish that in the least. What I want today is for us all to stop and cherish the depth, breadth, the amazing nature of the love of God. I want us to stop and cherish the depth, breadth, and amazing ability that we, as humans, have been given to love. We are in the image and likeness of God and so often we think that all we have the ability to do is critique and complain. Yet, we have capability to speak tenderly to one another. We have the ability to say ‘I love you.’ We have the ability to appreciate one another as God appreciates us. On top of it all, we have the ability to express to God from the depths of our psuche, our soul, how much he means to us. That is our purpose when we worship. That is our purpose for everyday of our life.
So, my friends, can we stop for moment and just love? Amen? Amen.
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