Wednesday, December 26, 2012

*BEST OF DTB #241* The importance of keeping an even keel

In one of my recent visits to the doctor, he warned me that, with diabetes, I have to be very careful of both the sudden spikes up and the sudden spikes down. How true this is in our spiritual life. This is the real message of Matthew 23, which is often misused, out of context, to attack Catholics (v9 in particular).

23 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
We are to neither falsely exalt ourselves nor others. Nor are we to falsely debase ourselves nor others.

Riding the roller coaster of demeaning arrogance and pride one minute, despairing guilt the next, is not the way to live a Christian life. The method of the P.A.C.E Christian doesn't work either. You can not fill up in Christmas and Easter what you have neglected the rest of the year, as if all the Christ in you runs out at 11:59:59 on the 25th of December.

This is one of the mistakes made by protestants. When you hear a protestant say "I was saved on March 18th, 1975" or something along those lines, you know you are talking to someone who does not understand what being a Christian is. Salvation is not an act, it is a process and it is not a day, it is a lifetime.

Christianity is not a membership, it is a life. It does not have a place and time, it is every place and every time, not just at Christmas. Those who are feeling the post-Christmas letdown this morning should examine what they really expected Christmas to be. Should it be one of the pinnacles of your Christian year? Yes. By the same token, you cannot set the bar too high for a single day, especially if the platform you are stepping from is a low one. In the Religious year, what you do and how you act in Ordinary time is just as important as what you do during Lent or the Easter Season or Advent or even at Christmas time.

Yes, Jesus was born on December 25th and, yes, Jesus died on Good Friday and Rose on Easter Sunday. At the same time, there were 33 January 1st's in His life as well, and March 18th's, for that matter. Jesus wasn't Jesus for just one day or even 12 days or 40 days. The human Jesus was and is Jesus for 2012 years now and the Divine Jesus from eternity past. Grace abides 365 days a year and so does faith, hope and charity.

The leap from December 23rd to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day should not be one from unholiness to holiness. It should be a temporary swim into the deeper waters, plunged into the majesty and meaning of the mystery. If anything, the joy of the Christmas season should recharge us for going forth into the rest of the year.

The Christmas season carries us into a new year and ends on January 6th, with the feast of the Epiphany. Christmas will have ment nothing if you give up the fight on December 26th...or even January 7th.

God Bless and Merry Christmas.

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