Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
“ is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."

From Deuteronomy 30, we hear Moses speaking to the Israelites as they are about to follow Joshua into the promised land. What is the “it” Moses speaks of? As you heard in the first reading this weekend, the “it” is the LAW! Hold that thought…

As you know, I write these Twitches on the Monday or Tuesday before you read them. I try very hard to be sensitive to what’s going on in our world. It doesn’t always work very well. Last week was a great example. The July 7 Twitch – written on July 1, spoke about LAUDATO SI, Pope Francis’ beautiful encyclical on taking care of creation. Between the first and the seventh of July came July 4, 5 and 6. So much for LAUDATO SI.

Undulating earthquakes, exploding ex-pizzerias rewrite our scripts. (Throw in condo power outages.)

Ravages of God’s nature, and disruptions of human constructionn, literally from one end of our country to the other, sure changed the shape of our Fourth of July weekend. Thank God there was no loss of life from either. We continue to pray for the physically and emotionally injured. I have no doubt that for many, many people, the events will remain crystal clear and frighteningly present for a long while. Twenty-seven years after Hurricane Andrew, pelting raindrops on windows still can make me jump.

What may happen between now as I’m writing and when you read this? Who knows? Maybe a tropical storm named Barry will emerge off the panhandle. The point is, we simply don’t know. So, with what are we left? What should we do?

Let’s go back to Deuteronomy and this weekend’s first reading. In essence, Moses is saying, “The Law we have received is a special way of coming to the Lord, and you don’t need special wise men to understand it. It’s already in you. Now go; not only know and trust it, but to live it.”

That’s what we hear in the marvelous parable of the Good Samaritan. As Father Larry Gillick, SJ, one of my favorite commentators said, the Good Samaritan story raised the level of the Law to make it the Good News. When Jesus tells the Good Sam parable, he takes head knowledge, and lays it on hearts. The Pharisees had long-since made the Law an end rather than a means. They knew exactly what he was saying and simply couldn’t “kick it up a notch.” They had forgotten their own teaching from Leviticus 19: 18, that loving one's neighbor is a sacred responsibility of the faithful Jewish person.

If you have gotten this far, I suspect you’re wondering just how I’m going to pull all this together. So am I.

After the earthquakes, the aftershocks, the explosions aand all the rest, what do we have left? As people of faith, where is our relief? How can we have hope?

“…it is something very near to you, already in your mouths and in your hearts; you have only to carry it out."

For all my conscious adult life, I have always strenuously resisted the business of God sending tests to strengthen us. But it is a very thin line between God seeming to be indifferent to human suffering, and God sending the power of the Spirit to help us deal with stuff hitting the fan – in Ridgecrest or Plantation.

Will we, like the Good Samaritan, have the courage to cross the street to live out what is “already in our hearts?”

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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