My thoughts and reflections on today's Mass readings...
The first reading today… [Is.58:7-10]
"Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday."
…reminded me of the “Pastor Email” that has been floating around the Internet for some times with mixed versions and claims to whether or not it’s a true story
[See SNOPES:http://www.snopes.com/glurge/homelesspastor.asp ]
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for
30 minuteswhile it was filling with people for service....only 3 peopleout of the 7-10,000 peoplesaid hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food... NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation...."We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek"... The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation.....The homeless man sitting in the back stood up... and started walking down the aisle... the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him.... he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment.... then he recited
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.'"
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning... many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame... he then said... Today I see a gathering of people... not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples... when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week... Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It's something you live by and share with others. -end-
The story is a good one (even if it turns out untrue) because it is a wonderful reminder of how we are to live. Being the “light” in the world or the “salt” of the earth are really the same thing. If we cast no light in the world we bring no glory to God.
The people in the Pastor Email story did not share their light with the homeless man. They gave him no money for food, no kind words and showed him NONE of the love of Jesus Christ. If the people in that congregation had any love of Jesus in them, they hid it well and completely failed to live today’s first reading about caring for others and showing them love and in doing so bringing the light and glory of God to them.
What a contrast that story is to our own Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta's story and the light she brought to the world after hearing Jesus' plea to her saying "Come be my light!"- she couldn't resist his call to be a light in the world.
And the Gospel Reading…[Matt. 5:13-16]
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
If we have no salt…we are tasteless, useless unneeded things rather than the flavor we are supposed to be in the world. Do we need light in the dead of night to see? Of course! If non-Christians are stumbling around in the dark of today's secular society who will be a light for them? Who will bring them God's Truth and Love? If we Christians are not a light for others they will live their entire lives in pitch black. And what about the Catholics sitting in the pews who are hungry for the taste of salt yet are being deprived by their own clergy?
Oh yes, there are far too many salt-less clergy in the Catholic Church- like THIS GUY or THIS GUY or THIS STUFF. At one time they might have preached the Word of God and filled the earth with their salt…but then the world and it’s secular demands pushed the Salt of God from them and left them void of salt. The salt that lost its taste.
These are the clergy (priest and Bishop alike) who now talk about the desire for the Church to changes its stand on birth control, abortion, gay ‘marriage’ and a female priesthood. These clergy have NO salt or light in them any more. They have become useless to the people of God and worse…a stumbling block for many as they lead entire flocks of God’s sheep away from God and on the road to Hell. This is what happens when our salt becomes tasteless.
Who would season their meals with salt that has no flavor? It would be a complete waste of time - so it is listening to these wayward tasteless-salt clergy.
As the scripture states “But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot”. It is good for nothing. Some of our clergy as well as our Church members have no light or salt in them and they have become ‘good for nothing’. One wonders when the Church will follow the scripture teaching and have these clergy “thrown out” for the useless lumps of dark tasteless salt they are. We need clergy who are full of light and haven’t lost their salt.
Pray for more salt and light in our wonderful Holy Catholic Church.
Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner