Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

The Repairman or the Homeowner?

I was talking with the HV/AC repairman while he was fixing our broken air conditioning system some years ago.  I was explaining that we had just moved, so our home looked a bit turned upside-down. He laughed and said that he had seen everything. He described how he went to an appointment at a million-dollar home  when he was new on the job. The landscaping was gorgeous and the building itself was awe-inspiring. The repairman rang the doorbell. When the homeowner let him inside, the repairman noticed that although there were gorgeous draperies across the front windows, the back windows had nothing covering them. Also, the only furniture he could see was a folding table, a folding chair and a mattress on the floor. The repairman said to the homeowner, “Wow, it looks like you are in the middle of moving.” The nicely dressed homeowner looked at him and said, “No, I have lived here for 5 years.” Oh my!

How deceived we are by outside appearances. From the repairman’s view, this home was a very expensive, well-appointed mansion. Once he was allowed inside, his view was abruptly changed. He was even willing to suspend belief and suggest that this person surely was just moving and that’s why there was such a big disconnect between the size of the home and the furnishings. When the repairman finally realized the ugly truth, there was no turning back. He said that he finished the appointment as quickly and quietly as possible and got out of there. The repairman felt so horrible for this homeowner who was appearing to be something that he was not.

I have been that repairman before. I have been totally sucked into believing an appearance to be reality. I have judged by the outside, and when allowed to see the “inside,” I have even chosen to suspend my belief thinking that surely this person would not be like that. I would call this concept a form of denial. When faced with the ugly truth, I was unwilling to see it for what it was, and this was compounded by the problem of my own naiveté.

Humbly, I must admit that I have also been that homeowner. I have been so comfortable with my own denial and keeping up appearances, that I have boldly stated the ugly truth, but not thought it was ugly because I believed my own lie! My conscience was so deadened that I truly did not see the ugly truth. I instead saw a “pretty lie.”

Both of these situations have taught me that we are easily duped. Many people who we perceive have possessions or wealth or any other outwardly appearance of success are really hollow inside. In fact, if we are invited “in,” we might be shocked by the hidden reality of their lives. Alcoholism, narcissism, addiction, depression, abuse and other bondage may lurk behind that perfect image. We need to stop comparing our insides with their outsides. Whichever person you can relate to–either the repairman or the homeowner–there is only one answer for how to overcome the lie/denial pattern. Make a decision to know and follow the Way, the Truth and the Light–also known as Jesus Christ!

 

 

 

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Making All Things New this Easter

I awoke this morning with this thought:  “See, I make all things new.” I knew this was a Bible verse, but I just didn’t know quite what it meant for me. Since God knows I can be a hard-head, these words just kept popping up in my mind all day long–during Easter Mass, at brunch with Grandma, on the porch with the children, and praying tonight as a family. So, I finally pulled out my Bible to see in what context these words were said and found the passage:

The one who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then he said, “Write these words down, for they are trustworthy and true.”He said to me, “They are accomplished. I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give a gift from the spring of life-giving water. (Revelations 21: 5-6)

I immediately recognized so many of these words, but not from Revelations. Do you remember what Jesus said from the Cross? I turned to John 19:

28After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” 29There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.30 When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit. (John 19:28-30)

32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus.33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs,34 but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. (John 19:32-34)

How amazing and appropriate that St. John would be God’s choice for writing the Book of Revelations. John was the only Apostle who stood at the foot of the Cross with the Blessed Mother and heard first hand Christ’s final words and was an eye-witness to all that transpired during these most holy moments of all history.

But what’s even more awe-inspiring is the message of Hope this passage of Revelations gives us all. Only God can make all things new again. New means God can take suffering and defeat and anger and sadness and loneliness (also known as the Cross) and transform it into life and hope and love and laughter and joy and peace (also known as the Resurrection)! And the life-giving water mentioned above comes from the side of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. He spoke of this with the woman at the well:

13Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again; 14but whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst; the water I shall give will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4: 13-14)

This Baptism of Water and Blood converted many of the everyday people who were employed at that time to carry out the Crucifixion. Just simply being touched by that precious water and blood from the side of Jesus changed them forever. Today at Mass, we repeated our Baptismal vows and through the “sprinkling rite” received that precious water as a reminder of the Promise of our Baptism.

Tonight, my family prayed the Divine Mercy novena. This is a special devotion started by St. Faustina, who was told to create an image of Jesus which shows the blood and water flowing from him. He “thirsts” to give His mercy and graces to souls, if only they would allow Him. Oh my, such great Hope along with such great Love!

I cannot find the words to express what the Resurrection of our Lord on Easter Sunday means to our souls. It is a love without limits. It is hope beyond hope. It is an ocean of mercy. Hmmmm, perhaps the Word says it best: “Behold, I make all things new.”

 

Fitting my son for a Cross

I am measuring my son’s arm span this morning to fit him for a cross. Last night, I wove a crown of thorns. As I worked, I was thinking things like, “Hmmm…those thorns don’t look sharp enough. How do I make them sharp? Do I have enough big thorns?” I feel like I am in a really terrifying Twilight Zone episode!

We are putting on a Passion Play and my son auditioned and received the part of Jesus. The director spent quite some time preparing him for this role. Not only mentally and emotionally but spiritually. She is a nationally recognized professional who has been in all sorts of performances, but she shared with him that anyone who takes on the role of Jesus Christ is always in for a tremendous journey of faith. I can see that I am in for a journey, too.

When I found out my son had the part of Jesus, tears welled up in my eyes. I have such a deep devotion to our Blessed Mother that I have very intense feelings of her sorrow during her Son’s Passion. I am not sure how I will be able to be the Stage Manager while watching my son walk the Way of the Cross.

As I shared all of this with my dear friend, she turned to me and said, “How do you think I feel? My daughter is the tormentor!” We both laughed until tears ran down our faces. Thank you, God, for dear friends who can make us laugh when facing something difficult.

 

The Gift of Undeserved Grace

I always find myself apologizing to my oldest child and explaining to him that he’s basically our “training wheels” for the other children. He laughs at this, but yesterday we were recalling some of his toddler and preschool years, and I found myself apologizing all over again.

When he was about 5 1/2 years old, I found some letters scratched into the hood of my minivan. The first letter happened to be the first letter of his sibling’s name. I confronted his only other sibling who could write at that time. She adamantly said it was not her, and she really wasn’t so great at writing legibly. I went back to my oldest child and asked for the truth, please. He adamantly said it was not him.

However, he had lately become obsessed with rocks and writing with rocks, and this looked clearly like the scratching of a rock. Also, you had to be pretty tall to reach that far up the hood of the car. All facts were pointing towards my son. I started drawing a line in the sand. I mean, really? This was lying! And as a parent, I felt I needed to nip this in the bud. My son would not budge. He did not care what the penalty was. Being a brilliant parent, I just kept raising the bar. He knew that I always follow through, but that didn’t seem to matter to him. Finally, my husband arrived home from work.

I explained the whole situation to my husband. He agreed with my thoughts and course of action, and backed me up as he has always done. (Thank God! I haven’t always been as wise as my husband, but that is another story…) My son would not come clean. So, the wise parents slammed him by taking away additional privileges. His behavior became unbearable. The next day was like living with a crazy person. Our extreme measures had created a beast!

I turned to a wise friend and explained the situation. She immediately said, “Now, this is your chance to show him what true grace is!” I said, “But, but, but…” She said, “You have set him up to have no way to win, so he is just acting out his total frustration. You are right, he is wrong, but he definitely isn’t learning the lesson you wanted him to learn. Can you see that?” “Oh yes, I can see that,” I replied. She suggested that we offer him grace. Just like Christ died for our sins on the Cross without us deserving or gaining this, we would take away his transgression without him deserving it.

My husband and I called our son into the room by himself that evening. We brought up the minivan hood and the fact that he lied about it. He began to look very upset. We told him that we wanted him to experience real grace. We told him that we forgave him for all of it and wouldn’t mention it again. It did not matter how or why it happened and all his privileges were restored. We loved him and wanted to give him undeserved grace, just like Jesus gave us when He died on the Cross for our sins.

I have never seen such a lifting of spirit! He immediately became a different little boy. His whole self just seemed to expand and glow. He gave us giant hugs and ran off to play.

We hadn’t spoken about this for almost a decade. When it came up yesterday, he said that he had written on the minivan hood. He also said he could clearly remember the meeting with us and the feeling of the gift of grace. I guess we managed to recover pretty well from one of our many parenting mishaps!