highway of hope

Feb 27, 2018

Take a moment to read the opening verses of today’s gospel reading :

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.

I wonder if this leaves you feeling as uneasy and challenged as it leaves me. As a priest I am considered by many to be a professional preacher, but far too many times most days I fall sadly short of the ideal I preach.

I suppose I could silence those who accuse me of hypocrisy by preaching only the parts of the gospel that I manage to live, but then I would fail in my call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I know that I am not alone in my struggle with the gap between the good news that I strive to preach and the life I too often live.

We all strive to forgive and find ourselves savouring hurt and even hate.

We seek justice and get caught in our own meanness and timidity.

We preach the freedom given by Jesus, but refuse to let go of the prison bars.

We long to live in love, but get trapped in our fear.

But imagine if we only preached the parts of the gospel we fully lived? The gospel would never be preached and people would never hear of Christ.

The fact is that when we speak of Christ and his message to encourage others, we are also holding ourselves to the life-giving ideal of Christian faith.

The healthy Christian lives in this gap between the life we are called to and long for, and our human imperfection and frailty. This gap is the place of our earthly human existence. We can encourage each other with this fact, and most of all remember that any failing, weakness or sin that we fall into is not a problem for God.

A hypocrite is someone who pretends they live something that they are not living. So, we Christians are not hypocrites, we are sinners who know our need for God.

All we need to do is to return to our desire for God, and let this desire re-open the highway of hope between God and ourselves.

14 Comments

  1. Highway of hope………. I like that thought. It is like we are the learner driver on that busy highway of life, with the Lord as our instructor, guiding us around the corners, learning when to stop/go, look both ways, and other times to give way, but always going forward. Nice thought you have left me with this morning. Thanks Fr John

    Reply
  2. Lovely reflection, Fr John. I used to wonder why God had created weak creatures who teetered between light and darkness, It took me a long time to realize that the shadow is our growing space. It is precisely that tension between light and dark that brings us to a close awareness of God in our lives. Now I see it all as gift – either blessing or teaching. And I am positive that God is not disappointed in us for being human.

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  3. So true John, reminds we of the verse in Romans 7–19, Instead of doing things I want to do,I do what I don’t want to do! Thanks Fr John.

    Reply
  4. I had an early start today, this sums up how i was feeling

    Reply
  5. I like that the gap is the place of our earthly human existence. Jesus loves us just as we are with our failings and weaknesses. I read the words of Jesus and want to be like him. So now that space between Jesus and my failings is my earthly human existence. Things are a little bit clearer, thank you.

    Reply
  6. Thanks for all these daily inspirations that give so much focus to getting through another day. Not often you hear a Priest’s confession in print! The venerable Vincent Mc Nabb described such humility as ‘being stoned to death with popcorn’ not a too painfully way to go! We already know the Debt has been paid.

    Reply
  7. Thank you Father John for another thought provoking and encouraging message today. Bless you.

    Reply
  8. Touche to all comments and thanks again Father for giving us food for our faith

    Reply
  9. “The healthy Christian lives in this gap between the life we are called to and long for, and our human imperfection and frailty. This gap is the place of our earthly human existence.” — I really like this. Keep closing the gap.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous says Thank you Fr. John for today’s reflection. High\way Of Hope-between God and ourselves. I
    have to focus on god and the holy spirit will help me.

    Reply
  11. Thank you Fr John, you continue to be an inspiration. Closing that gap will be my life’s journey and when it is closed perhaps I will have fulfilled my earthly journey.

    Reply
    • So true Mary. My gap is wider than it should be

      Reply
  12. Thanks john. The reality of our faith journey can often be measured in the gap between reality and desire. As long as I feel the prick of inadequacy I know I am and journeying on. When my failings become comfortable it means I have probably stopped

    Reply
  13. St Teresa of Calcutta said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love”.

    Reply

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