||Deacon Joe Hulway
||August 2, 2010
"Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?"
|We often have a lot of questions we would like to ask Jesus, but in the gospels we can also reflect on a lot of the
questions that Jesus asks of others, and indirectly of us. Jesus' question this month is from yesterday's gospel, August
1, the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C. It gives an opportunity for reflection from many perspectives and on many
levels. Is Jesus our judge? Is He our arbitrator? Over material matters, spiritual matters, or both? If so, who appointed
Him to that position? How do we view Jesus' role in our lives and how does that make us feel?
Jesus' question comes in response to a man who is concerned that his brother is not sharing their inheritance properly.
He tells the crowd: "Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one's life does not consist of
possessions." (Lk. 12:15) Through parables Jesus makes it clear that material possessions are not something we
should worry about. He tells the story of the rich man who built new larger storage buildings to store his bountiful harvest
and have long-term security, but whose life was taken from him that very night. Jesus concludes: "Thus will it be for
the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God." (Lk. 12:21) He uses the
imagery of ravens and flowers and says in one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible: "Notice the ravens: they do
not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you
than birds! Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are beyond
your control, why are you anxious about the rest? Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell
you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field
that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little
faith? As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore." (Lk.
Jesus did not come to be our judge and arbitrator over material issues. His Father knows what we need and will provide
for us according to His will. With regard to spiritual issues, however, do you perceive Jesus as a judge and/or an
Jesus says in the Gospel of John: "You judge by appearances, but I do not judge anyone. And even if I should
judge, my judgment is valid, because I am not alone, but it is I and the Father who sent me." (Jn. 8:15-16) When
Christians pray the Nicene Creed, developed back in 325 AD when the Christian Church was still one, we say about
Jesus: "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end." The
Catechism of the Catholic Church gives this explanation of this statement: "Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to
pass definitive judgment on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He 'acquired'
this right by his cross. The Father has given 'all judgment to the Son'". (Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42;
17:31; 2 Tim 4:1) Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. (Cf. Lk
21:12; Jn 15:19-20) By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works,
and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love. (Cf. Jn 3:17; 5:26. 588 Cf. Jn 3:18;
12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31)" (CCC #679) Jesus will be our Judge at the end of time, but we
bring judgement upon ourselves when we do not listen to the words that He gives us from His Father.
We fail when we do not follow Jesus' teachings, but we are not without hope. Our second question is whether Jesus is
our arbitrator. St. John answers this for us: "But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus
Christ the righteous one." (1 Jn. 2:1)
Jesus will be our judge and arbitrator, but let us be cautious not to expect Him to help in frivolous matters of material
desires and possessions. Reflect on what things you pray for: treasures on earth or in heaven?
|As I got in my car the other day, I reached for my rosary to pray it as I drove across town. I chose the Joyful Mysteries for
my meditation. And, of course, the first Joyful mystery is the Annunciation, when Mary said, "May it be done to me
according to your word." (Lk. 1:38) My reflection hit me in a special way that day and caused me to consider why I was
in the car at all. I was driving 60 miles to Westland for a book signing which would not have been happening if I hadn't
said yes to what I believed was a call from God to write a book. Decisions have consequences that are often
unexpected. When I decided to write a book almost four years ago, I never thought that it would lead to an early
retirement and to things way out of my comfort zone like radio interviews and book signings. And so instead of spending
Saturday afternoon working in the yard or relaxing with a beer, I spent two hours trying to convince perfect strangers that
they should buy my book. I didn't sell many books, but I did have some very interesting conversations with non-Catholics
that wanted to argue against the Catholic faith because we believe in hell and pray to saints. When I tried to tell them
that the book wasn't about my Catholic religion, but it simply requires a believe in God, one gentleman claimed to be an
atheist. (After some discussion, it was clear that he wasn't.) And so after a frustrating two hours, as I got back in my car,
the words of the prophet Jeremiah jumped into my mind: "You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped." (Jer. 20:
7) I wondered what was the real reason I was there that day; what was God's real purpose for convincing me to write a
book that relatively few people will ever read.
July was a pretty uneventful month around our household--I think we needed that. There were a few graduation parties
to attend. I had a newspaper and radio interview for the book and the book signing that I just discussed. Also got to do
my civic duty and spend a day at the courthouse for jury duty. We have welcomed our new pastor at Sacred Heart which
has required a few adjustments; for example Instead of preaching every week at the 8:00 Mass, I will be preaching at all
three English Masses on the third Sunday of each month.
It has been a very dry month of July and, since we don't have a sprinkler system, our grass is very dry and brown. The
good news is that I don't have to spend as much time mowing the lawn. This has given grandpa a little extra time to help
with building a swing set. These projects are always more fun than the mundane projects I need to work on in my own
I also spent a little more time doing some reading. I read the Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis as part of my research for my
book on purgatory. It was a unique perspective on heaven and hell. I also read the very controversial book, The Shack,
by William Paul Young. The book is a work of fiction, but the author's portrayal of his encounter with the Trinity presents
views that are inconsistent with Scripture and sound theology. I found the story enjoyable after I got into it, and there are
some good points to take away about our relationship with God, But I would not recommend the book to someone who is
not well-grounded in their faith or those who are easily led astray by false teachings. One of the best review that I found
for the book from a Catholic perspective is at the From the Abbey Web site. (Read the review.) The reviewer cautiously
concludes: “If you do read it, be sure to read it critically, with your Bible and Catechism close at hand.” I agree.
And now, to get myself back on track, I am once again re-reading one of the all time classics: Mere Christianity by C.S.
Lewis. If you have never read it, you should probably put it at the top of your list. With so many classics like this one to
read, it probably isn't worth risking your faith by reading questionable material like The Shack.
Our bees have not been producing any honey and we were getting concerned--we can't seem to get the bees to read
the books so they can learn what they should be doing. But, after attending one of the bee keeper meetings, we found
that we are not alone. Apparently there is a "nectar drought" and the bees have been unable to produce honey yet this
year. Who would have known? I also did get some reassurance that my reaction to the bee stings that I reported on last
month was a normal response and that I should not be concerned about being allergic. We did purchase some official
bee suits, however, just to be a little more safe and secure.
|There is one new homily posted at the website since the last newsletter.
Know, Love, and Then Serve
16th Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 18, 2010
|Status of the Book
|Last month I wrote: "Unfortunately, very little writing has been accomplished on Orthoscopy II since the last newsletter,
although I have given it much thought and have some ideas developed more fully. Hopefully I will have a better status to
report next month." Unfortunately, I do not have better status to report.