Thursday, February 15, 2018

Gospel Word Today: Rejected

The political atmosphere we encompass daily now is a barrage of negativity and, yes, fake news. Why are the people being paraded across social media so angry and violent? It has grown into brutal verbal and even physical attacks if one side doesn't agree with the other. In order to recoup my peace, I am finding the need to disconnect from the chaos (at least for an hour or so!) and focus on Jesus. As I read today's Gospel, the word "rejected" jumped out at me. I began thinking about the people who continue "rejecting" our President and his desire to fix America, even a year after his election. This question popped into my head: How do I act when I'm rejected? I'm hurt, I'm sad, or I'm annoyed. But through my faith (and with age), I have learned to subdue the pangs of rejection through prayer and thanksgiving for all the love that surrounds me.  There are many wounded people whose only recourse for their candidate losing the election is to make others feel as bad as they do. It's as if they themselves have been rejected. Many don't have Jesus to navigate out of the spiraling negativity. Many don't even have parents, a spouse, a significant other . . . someone to help ease the pain and confusion. The Son of Man endured rejection and He was Perfect, so why wouldn't His Words lead us in the right direction? There is Light at the end of the tunnel. And Jesus, the Most Experienced One, advises us in the Gospel (Luke 9:22-25) today:

Jesus said to his disciples: "The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised."

Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?"

In Anne a lay apostle's book Lessons in Love, she beautifully illustrates how Our Lord's unconditional love for His Children should inspire us to follow in His Footsteps:

"The greater the love we feel for others, the greater the craving for a reciprocal response of love. Our craving does not ensure that we will receive that which we crave, any more than the Lord’s craving for love from each man is satisfied. Happily, Jesus teaches us as much in rejection as He teaches us in acceptance, that is, the experience of rejection, being so consistent with the ongoing experience of Jesus Christ by humanity, enables us to further identify with the crucified Christ. When the Lord suffered Calvary, He suffered or experienced near-total rejection. This was His experience of it in His humanity, even though we know that not all mankind rejects Christ. Did this cause Him to return rejection or abandon His love for us? No. On the contrary, in the acceptance of those who rejected Him, Jesus set an example of heavenly and unconditional love. Jesus’ acceptance of the rejection of others in no way diminished His craving for the love of humanity. He craved love in both His humanity and His divinity until the moment of His death. He continues to crave our love and safety. The more we possess Christ, the more we recognize Christ and love Him in others."

Lay apostles, contemplate the Gospel today and remember how Jesus handled life's difficulties. Strive for unconditional love in every situation. As hard as that is to do at times, we should always attempt it when the opportunity arises! Remember, WWJD?

Thank you, Lord, for all the lessons in the Gospels. The are the salve to my pain and the icing on my cake!

God bless,

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