We enter into the Gospel of Luke today, leaving John behind. We'll be moving through Luke now until the end of the Church Year, which seems far away, but Advent will be here in the blink of an eye. Life goes by in the blink of an eye.
We are given Luke's prelude and explanation of what is to come in his orderly and well researched account of Jesus' life, and then we jump right into John the Baptist, who is baptizing and preaching today. When asked what they should do, John tells the crowds: if you have two coins, give one to the individual in need, don't be greedy, take only what you need or is prescribed for you, don't extort money.....and be satisfied. Be satisfied with your wages Luke says John proclaims. What a beginning. What a summary of what is to come. Be satisfied.
I am always fascinated with how little we have changed since these and other ancient works were written. Our innate human nature stands challenged by these stories and instructions to move to a different world view. What we are being asked to do is no simple feat. To be satisfied, to be generous to others, to not be greedy but generous can be difficult values to make the center of our existence.
A 26 year old parishioner of mine is struggling with loss right now. His mother just committed suicide. The loss, the guilt, the pain, the "what ifs", the anger, the confusion that dominate a person's mind at a time like this is overwhelming. Why couldn't she have been satisfied? Mental illness is such a seriously misunderstood and mis-treated disease. Beth is beyond human help now, but the wreckage caused by her actions remain, and will remain for a long time.
Pray for the repose of her soul. Pray for the family she leaves behind that they may find a way to peace and forgiveness and that they may find a way to Luke's state of satisfaction.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.