MySpiritualAdvisor.com’s Mark Kurowski reflects on how we know. What does what we are doing mean? Listen to this podcast of his reflection on the readings for The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul Sunday to find out. Please read Matt. 16:13-19. #Prayer #Sermons #Homilyhelper #Revelation #Eucharist #Catholic #GodIsTalking
MySpiritualAdvisor.com, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday, 6/29/2014 The Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Please pause this audio and read Matthew 16:13-19.
Have you ever had something pop out of your mouth that was kind, gracious and just right, but had NO IDEA where it came from? That’s revelation.
Have you ever understood a profound truth without having to have someone explain it further? That’s revelation.
Thomas Jefferson removed all the miracles from the Bible because they were not possible under the philosophy of the enlightenment. The Deists and those who ascribe to Enlightenment philosophy say that unless it can be seen, heard, tasted, smelt and/or touched by humans, it could not happen. Jefferson didn’t feel it was ‘reasonable’ to have miracles, so he cut them out—literally—with scissors.
At the same time, philosophers Maurice Blondel and Blaise Pascal have posited that we all know that we are finite: we are not going to live forever. In the midst of this knowledge, every civilization, I mean EVERY civilization, has attempted to describe this notion that we all have that there is something infinite beyond us. We may call it “Intelligent Design” or we may just take a deep breath at how intricate the lines on the fingers of a newborn baby are and conclude, “there has to be someone out there smarter than us.” (Of course, I can drive to work with people who are talking with their hands while driving on the highway and conclude the same thing!)
Thomas Merton in his book No Man Is an Island opens with the proposition that if we ask the question “what is the meaning of life?”, then we have answered that life is indeed worth living. We don’t even have to know the answer to what the meaning of life is, according to Merton. All we have to do is think, “What is the meaning?” and we have established that some kind of purpose has moved us to ask what existence is all about. We inherently know that there is meaning to life and that life must have a purpose with no material evidence whatsoever. I would even make the case that with all the fools and foolishness, killers and killing, sin and sinning, hate and hating, that the only possible reason that anyone would make humanity is because of some foolish, foolhardy and wildly romantically rational reason called love. Yet, we are born knowing that we have a purpose and meaning that is beyond ourselves.
I love to watch the talent variety shows like “America’s Got Talent”. I love to do it because everyone gets up and takes a chance to make a fool out of themselves because they all say it: “I just know I was born to do this.”
Spirituality and religion are another form of knowledge, John Henry Cardinal Newman proposed in stating the case that theology has a place at a public University. They are and they do.
One day, I knelt on my kneeler in my study in Roxboro, NC and just knew that God was calling me to be a pastor in Gary, IN. Here I was a white boy, living in Jesse Helms North Carolina, with a gaggle of little white children and a wife who grew up in a nearly totally white town called Granger, IN and I walk out in the kitchen and say, “I think God is calling us to Gary, IN.” That is when she held up the local newspaper in North Carolina with the headline, “Mayor Asks for State Troopers to Patrol Gary, IN.” I went and it was three years of my life that I would live over again and again and again because of the mighty acts of God I witnessed with my own eyes.
Some see a dirty person on the corner begging and see a loafer, others look and see the image and likeness of God. What is the difference? Revelation. Revelation is when the true meaning of something shows you that the thing, event or situation is beyond you and your needs. Revelation is when something insignificant in the eyes of others points you toward the hand of God in the world. Revelation is like the woman you know you just have to marry: you just know.
When Jesus asks the apostles about who people say that he is, there are opinions. Oh, Elijah, or the second coming of the prophet. Yes, he is the prophet, but so much more than a prophet. Oh, Jeremiah, which is nearly the same as Elijah. Others, said, “John the Baptist” who was just killed and that would mean he would have come back from the dead, but WE know that was later. So, in other words, people know there is something about Jesus but they just can’t put their finger on it. They see what he does and hear what he says, and they know. They know like my mama knew when I was lying by looking at me.
Now Jesus, turns to the men that have gone out and done miraculous things in his name. They saw him walk on the water. They saw him restore a girl to life, heal two blind men, heal a man who mute, heal a leper, the servant of a centurion, saw him calm a storm at sea and chase out the Gerasene demoniacs, and THAT was just through Chapter 12 and we have 15 more to go after the one from which we read! Jesus turns to these men and says, “But you, who do you say that I am?” That is when Peter shines.
Peter says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is significant because just before this passage, the people demanded a sign and Jesus told them they were fickle. Just before this passage Jesus tells them to beware of the Scribes and the Pharisees, the very people who were supposed to know who he is, but cannot fathom it. Here, the men who have followed him and the rock of his Church, knows who he is.
How is it that they knew when the people who were supposed to know didn’t know? Jesus says, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Peter knew, not because of the signs, or the healings or the demons driven out, but because even the Pharisees and Scribes saw those. Peter knew, because he trusted the spiritual dimension of his life. He trusted God the Father working through him.
You can sit in the pews week after week. You can receive the Eucharist. You can pray and read the Scriptures. You can do good deeds and count your beads, but unless you trust the meaning of events through the prism of faith, it means nothing. In fact, the meaning of everything is through the prism of Christ, the prism of faith, the prism of the Messiah who gave his life for you and for me and offers himself to us in the Eucharist.
I challenge you today to take a look at your life through the prism of faith. What meaning do you see now? This past week I had to minister to people who have lost children, one six years old and the other nineteen. Death has meaning because Christ died. Death is an entry into heaven or the hands of God and I trust both. What is happening in your life and could it be a message from Jesus Christ? What is happening in your life and has the difference been that you have not understood it as another chapter in the history of the salvation of the world? Your life does and the philosophers know and the apostles know, not because the were so smart, but because the Father revealed it to them and they trusted that. Isn’t it time we did the same? Amen? Amen.
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