Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The demands of Spiritual homelessness, burying the dead, and not looking back

Well, Thursday is the day we celebrate Ignatius of Loyola.... The three ex-Jesuits I have known have been superior scholars and men of great devotion. I'm not so keen on much of the history of the Order though....

Given our current situation, the Gospel reading for the day is powerful --what with Lambeth and the unfolding pressures upon the Communion. In this story, three persons approach Jesus:

One volunteers to follow him, and Jesus retorts saying that he must then follow him to that place of "nowhere" of homelessness.

The next person Jesus calls, but that person is too busy tending the dead. Jesus gives him a charge to proclaim the kingdom anyway.

The third person volunteers to follow but wants to go say good bye first. And Jesus says--don't look back.... Once you start down the row, don't look back.

Somehow these persons are all alive and well, this very day: the "nowhere" people in eternal search mode, wandering, uncomfortable with the demands and rigors of true spiritual homelessness; the Bishops and all those others digging graves deeper and deeper wanting to give honor to a dead past; and those who wish to hold on to relationships while called to something new.

Each one of those personas resonates with me at some level....the digging graves part not so much as the others. What really really strikes home though, is the thought of keeping a hand to the plow and not looking back.

I am not so sure what Ignatius would think of Blessed Mahalia--but I love her.

Hold on. Don't look back. Eyes forward. All your strength.
Sing it Mahalia.

Gospel for Thursday, July 31: Luke 9:57-62
As they were going along the road, someone said to Jesus, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head."

To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." But Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."

Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

The Collect
Almighty God, from whom all good things come: You called Ignatius of Loyola to the service of your Divine Majesty and to find you in all things. Inspired by his example and strengthened by his companionship, may we labor without counting the cost and seek no reward other than knowing that we do your will; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

First Reading
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, so that they may be saved.