’s Mark Kurowski reflects wealth, power, and fame.  Who is controlling who here and what does a man on the Cross mean to any of those?  Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for the 7th Sunday of Ordinary Time to find out. Please read Matthew 5:38-48.  For Audio, “read more” below.  #GreatCatholicPreaching #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #Vapid #RealPower #Real Wealth #RealFame #Matthew #Messiah

For, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday,   2/23/2014 The 7th   Sunday of Ordinary Time.

Please pause this audio and read Matthew 5:38-48 .

          What difference does following Jesus Christ make? We know how to love because he showed us how to love.

          We cannot say that a relationship with Jesus is about receiving more blessings. Jesus says in this passage that God not only loves the bad, but he blesses them! We cannot say that a relationship with Jesus is about being more powerful. Jesus says in this passage that we are to offer no resistance to evil when we are impacted. Yes, we should intercede for others, but we are to give our cloak as well as the tunic that was demanded from us. We cannot say that a relationship with God is about prestige and status, networking to succeed. Jesus calls us out on that one, too: “Even the tax collectors,” whose reputation has not improved over two thousand years, even they love those who love them.

          Leading others is about transforming the world through showing how all those things, blessing, power, fame/prestige, revenge, are empty. They cause us to be trapped in forever seeking after more. When we receive wealth (blessing), it is not enough, we need more. When we have power, we want more. When we have fame, we want more, until we are trapped in the vicious cycle of our own greed and pride. When we were on the way up we were in control of our wealth and fame. When we get there, our wealth and fame control us unless we lose it. The life, even more the death, of Jesus Christ shows that all those things, wealth, power, and prestige do not love, they take.

          I could tell many stories here, and I usually do, to illustrate the people or events that make my point. I could talk about the death of Diana Princess of Wales, who was hounded by the paparazzi, and ended up dead because of the car chase. Fame killed her. I could talk about Howard Hughes, the oil and airline magnate of the 1970s whose wealth only fed his psychosis to where he ended up alone and isolated, mistrusting everyone. I could mention Hitler whose power blinded him into killing millions, Stalin, too. Then, in contrast to all of these, we have Jesus—nailed to a tree for you and me.

          What was Jesus’ response to the prestige hungry Jewish authorities who handed him over to be crucified? What was Jesus’ response to Pontius Pilate who didn’t want to ruin his fame? What was Jesus’ response to those who mocked him for their own sense of importance? Hanging on the cross, here is what he said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus’ message is this: Loving others is about going beyond their hatefulness. It is showing grace and mercy because we have perspective about this life.

          You can destroy our name, but we have a community of Jesus people who love us. You can destroy our wealth, but we don’t need mansions here on earth, because we have them in heaven. You can crush us in our authority, but we already knew and know that God is in charge. We are invincible because we don’t have to have wealth. We are invincible because we don’t have to have power. We are invincible because we don’t have to have fame. We don’t have to respond like others do because we have treasure in heaven that is available to us here. Our worth, as Christians, is not based upon how much money we have, how much power we have, or how much fame we have. Our worth was bought with the price of an innocent life given in forgiveness of others who mocked him, beat him and killed him. Our worth is not in how much we get from others, but in how much we give to others.

          Sometimes, we Christians think that we are special. We think that somehow, we are more blessed by God. Somehow, we think that because we are forgiven, we have license to be mean to others. We think we have license to be rude, arrogant and puffed up with self importance. We think this because we think we are right. Well, if that is what we think, we couldn’t be more wrong.

          Being a Christian has some importance to it. It is great importance. It is to point out how vapid all those things people cling to are worthless by the way we live our lives. We must be frugal. We must be strong in our action that goes beyond power to service. We must reject fame that places us above others. Why? Because by doing these things, we become rich with friends, we become empowered to love, we become famous as being a person people can count on.

          What are the things in which you have placed false faith? Wealth? Power? Fame? What have sought after? What have you thought was going to give you security only to find that security is found only when you do not have these things? What is it that you are going to have to deconstruct in your life to follow what Christ calls us to do in this passage today? Whatever it is, do it. Your life depends on it. Amen? Amen.

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