How to Win at Quidditch by Trying Really Hard.

JMJ

The Readings for Saturday 1 Advent (Year 2):
Erunt oculi tui videntes præceptorem tuum. Et aures tuæ audient verbum post tergum monentis: Hæc est via; ambulate in ea, et non declinetis neque ad dexteram, neque ad sinistram.
With your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left.
In the Harry Potter universe, Quidditch is the Wizarding World’s version of Football. It’s terribly exciting and, although I have no desire at all to imagine a group of snarky, self-satisfied differently-evolved string pullers behind the scenes (it’s how a whole generation learned to hate baskets of deplorable, merely human muggles), Quidditch is something I wish I could see. Flying brooms, goals, a boundless playing field, and multiple pathways to victory. There’s only one way to win, of course: get the most points. But there are so many ways to get points. Yes, grabbing the tiny gold ball might win the game for you – but not if the other team has more points. But that catch always ends the game. But who wins?

We will see our Teacher before us and hear a voice directing us. When the heart is ready, the teacher will come, or so say one or another group of American  new age folks (OK, Rick Springfield). What should we do when the teacher is here?

Patience.

I’m constantly running, looking for the right place (which is always over there, never here). So What do we do when the teacher is here?

There will be a voice behind you, saying “This is the way. Walk in it.”

Here’s a couple of different options: one is very popular among Christians of all stripes just now. In this pattern everything is there, the perfect vocation, the perfect spouse, the perfect choices. God has a plan for your life. Your job is simply to discern the right choices and make them. God has awesome laid out for you. This is the way; walk in it.”

There’s this other option: in this one the way is the way of Salvation. You have to end the game saved. How you play the game is up to you, though. Will you try for ordination? Will you get married? Will you struggle as single? Will the end come in a career path in tech? Is pilgrimage your route? Will the end of the game be the retirement villa or homelessness?

What if the path is only the way of the Cross?

Thomas Merton was prepping to enter the Franciscan Order. He was quite convinced that he should: they’d let him teach college, he’d have a home, and three squares, and he’d go to mass and pray. In fact, he was already teaching at the Franciscan College. He’ just have to move wings in the dorm.

But several hours away by train there was this Trappist monastery that called out to him. He’d have to give all that up, all the set up, all the easy change… and actually do something.

In the end Merton’s choice was driven by the realization that the Franciscan path was too easy, that it required no sacrifice to do it.  If God wanted him to give up everything, he couldn’t do it by holding most things in reserve.

So he ditched it all. And thus became the great spiritual teacher we know today. What a blessing it was for all the world that he decided to simply walk the way of the Cross. It “triggered” all of his Charisms, it made all his gifts manifest. That decision: I will give up everything, made him who God called him to be.  Note: he didn’t wrestle with the ideas of that last thing. That last thing just happened.

The teacher is before us (Christ, hanging on the Cross) and there is a voice that says, “here’s the path, walk in it.” It only goes to one place: Christ on the Cross.  There’s only one way to win, of course: get the most points. But there are so many ways to get points. This path, though, only goes to the firey end of all our lives.

When you die, will you have been saved?

When in Rome…

JMJ
The Readings for Thursday 1 Advent (Year 2):
Dixit Jesus: Non omnis qui dicit mihi, Domine, Domine, intrabit in regnum cælorum: sed qui facit voluntatem Patris mei, qui in cælis est, ipse intrabit in regnum cælorum.
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord.” It’s tempting, isn’t it: to assume that means someone else.

But Christianity’s teaching “Do not judge” leaves us with a conundrum. Unless it is your calling to adjure and preach, all sins are in the first person, only. Even if it is your calling to preach, condemning others directly is never a good way to preach – although it can work sometimes. No… I am the only sinner I know. All others are Christ.

So, not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom… that means me. Sins are in the first person: it is I, saying “Lord, Lord” who are in danger of damnation. And so, with that heated introduction, to our topic:

Quia incurvabit habitantes in excelso; civitatem sublimem humiliabit: humiliabit eam usque ad terram, detrahet eam usque ad pulverem. Conculcabit eam pes, pedes pauperis, gressus egenorum.
For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground, he shall pull it down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.

I’ve posted this before, forgive me, but One day in 2010 Cam Miller, Rector of Trinity ECUSA in Buffalo, NY, teaching an adult ed class on the Gospels, asked us to list “classes of people” in the Gospel stories and, as we were confused, he started a list on the board with 1, 2 and 3. Then we figured out the pattern and got the rest of it:
  1. Jesus
  2. The Apostles
  3. The Women
  4. Jews
  5. Jesus family
  6. Samaritans
  7. Pharisees
  8. Tax Collectors
  9. Sadducees
  10. The Scribes
  11. Clergy
  12. Lepers
  13. Sinners
  14. The Army

We came up with a few more as well. Then Cam asked us “Who are we?” The Apostles was a logical choice. But Cam pointed out that’s who we would want to be, but, as far as the story goes… “Sinners!” Yes, that’s true, but I mean, in terms of current parallels none of these categories fit. Who are we, in terms of history as we sit here in Buffalo, NY, in the middle of winter?

All of these people, in the Gospel story, live in Judea (he used the Anachronism of “Palestine” but set that aside for this post). Judea is an outlier province in the Roman World where taxes are collected and olives are harvested. It is not, however, a place where olives are eaten – they are sent away. It is a place where bad politicians get sent by the Emperor for “special assignments”. It is a place where “Keeping the Peace” is a imperial command that is impossible to keep and one’s own death sentence.

Do we live in 1st Century Judea? (NO!)
Ok, then where are we?

Americans, in terms of the Gospels, are none of the people in Judea. We’re not in the story at all except as an “unseen hand”. We are most closely paralleled to Rome, to which all taxes go, all goods are sent, and from whom no secrets are hid. We are the gobblers and thieves who send out armies to “keep the peace” only so much as it benefits us (where “us” is defined as the bankers and companies that keep Americans shopping). We are Rome. What little good others get from our benignity is because we get a greater good from it. We do not send Charity so much as we send blood money. We speak of the Law of Supply and Demand as if we had not imposed it on the world with our guns.

In the end, Christian morals and ideas about purity, morality, equality, justice, and the Kingdom of God undercut the Roman Empire so much she had to start killing the followers of this new cult.

Please, God, it were so now.

In a fit of realism, as I type this on a cheap computer, sitting under lights lit by energy paid for by farmers in Kansas, sipping coffee made by underpaid farm workers in various parts of the world, wearing clothes sewn by hands well sweated in Target and Kmart, I wonder what can ever be done. I have a lot of stuff I didn’t work for. I have a lot of stuff paid for by the blood of others. Even the foods I eat are harvested by the hands of wage slaves who come to our country because we have ruined theirs with our our politics and trade agreements. St Paul says to all of us, “Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.” Yet we have, instead, become Rome. We are the rulers of the world, the exporters of the violence that moved west with a Young America. We are the killers and the spoilers. What Marshal will stop us?


I know that some part of the world thinks we may have elected our own Nero or Caligula. Although either would be disastrous, neither were anywhere near the end of the Empire. In fact, they were the beginning of the seriously bad part. But I do fear the wrath when it comes. And it won’t be God, as such (although by his will): it will be by the hands of those we’ve chained to the machines that make our stuff.
One day, and please God, soon: they will say of America, as they say of Rome, The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.
And maybe, like Rome, this will be our Salvation; But Rome is the Eternal City, and we only need one. I have no hope this will be so. For the Christian revolution cannot possibly come to a country that thinks, already, it is Christian, where we are all bound in our individualism and our greed to make choices: I value a whole lot of things more than the Gospel. I’ll wager you do as well.
Not all who say, Lord, Lord…

It’s all sin. Come and feast.

Happy St Nicholas Day!

JMJ
The Readings for Wednesday 1 Advent (Year 2):
Et accesserunt ad eum turbæ multæ, habentes secum mutos, cæcos, claudos, debiles, et alios multos: et projecerunt eos ad pedes ejus, et curavit eos.
Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. 
Matthew 15:30

In a world where we don’t want to imagine there is sin… it helps to realize what sin is. We want to think of sin as a moral infraction, a “breaking a rule” and, in some ways, this is the case. But it is not a breaking of a rule the way that one might cheat on ones taxes or sneak out of work early. Sin is a failure to be what was intended but not by us, not even by a set of rules, but rather by God in God’s overarching pattern for all things. St Augustine calls it, “an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law.” And if we take deed or utterance as symbols, Jesus is erasing a lot of sin here.

In the 9th Chapter of St John’s Gospel, Jesus is asked “Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus reply that it was neither does not undo the idea that being born blind is an offense against the created order, that the design of God requires everyone to see God’s works and, seeing them, to praise God for them. There is no moral infraction – but the sickness of sin leads us to a world where someone might be born unable to see and praise God.

In today’s passage it is all the mutos, cæcos, claudos, debiles, et alios multos,  the mute, the blind, lame, and the weak, and many others.  These are all parts of God’s creation but human sin has left them alone, lost, weak. I don’t mean that human sickness is caused by sin, (That’ll make you blind!) but rather that all of our losses are because of sin. Sin is in the world, ergo there are failures.  Jesus sets them right.

In my youth there were preachers aplenty who said AIDS was God’s punishment on “the gay”. I know these folks still exist, but in my youth they were very common even in what we think of as mainline and liberal denominations. I once walked out on one preaching at NYC’s Cathedral of St John the Divine. Their god has sloppy aim: for in punishing gays he also got homeless mothers, and unborn children, It is wrong to say that disease was sent to punish you. It is totally right, however, to say that all disease, all sickness, all poverty, all homelessness, all need and necessity, all cripplings, all maimings, all murders, all violence, all war, all natural disasters, all – for all we know – super novas and the asteroid belt are all the result of sin and the war our soul center has waged against God for ever.

Jesus is coming to set things aright – not to heal people like a magician, to show the power of God (which only begs the question of why tsunamis and why AIDS and why I missed the bus this morning and was late again and got fired as a result). Jesus miracles are not a sign of Magic that you and I somehow missed, but rather each miracle and all of them together, is a sign of what God wants the world to be.

Only our sin keeps it from being so.

And so, Advent. The coming of Christ to save us, to judge us, to set us free, and condemn us – what is this hope then? The sign of the kingdom that is the Mass:

Et faciet Dominus exercituum omnibus populis in monte hoc convivium pinguium, convivium vindemiæ, pinguium medullatorum, vindemiæ defæcatæ. Et præcipitabit in monte isto faciem vinculi colligati super omnes populos, et telam quam orditus est super omnes nationes.

A time is coming when the Lord of hosts will prepare a banquet on this mountain of ours; no meat so tender, no wine so mellow, meat that drips with fat, wine well strained. Gone the chains in which he has bound the peoples, the veil that covered the nations hitherto; on the mountain-side, all these will be engulfed.

Come to Mass. Bring your failings, your weaknesses, sins, losses, maiming, and broken breads to lay at Jesus feet. and see this  restoration, this Kingdom of God in action… only our sin keeps it from being so.

The American Way: Something about the Reaping…

JMJ
The Readings for Tuesday 1 Advent (Year 2):

Quod abscondisti hæc a sapientibus et prudentibus, et revelasti ea parvulis. 
Thou hast hidden all this from the wise and the prudent, and revealed it to little children.
Monty Pythons, Meaning of Life, Part VII, Death. Death walks into a rural English cottage and claims the souls of two Brits and two Americans. Death calls all the Brits pompous. Then the American Man tries to Mansplain his way out of the scary place. And this happens:

Katzenberg:       Let me tell you something, Mr Death…
Grim Reaper:    You do not understand!
Katzenberg:       Just one moment. I would like to express on behalf of everyone here, what a really unique experience this is…
Jeremy:               Hear hear.
Angela:                Yes, we’re so delighted that you dropped in, Mr Death…
Katzenberg:       Can I finish please…
Debbie:                Mr Death… is there an after-life?
Katzenberg:       Dear, if you could just wait please a moment…
Angela:                Are you sure you wouldn’t like some sherry?
Katzenberg:       Angela, I’d like just to say at this time…
Grim Reaper:    Be quiet!
Katzenberg:       Can I just say this at this time, please…
Grim Reaper:    Silence!!! I have come for you.
[Pause as this sinks in. Sidelong glance. A stifled fart.]
Angela:                … You mean to…
Grim Reaper:    … Take you away. That is my purpose. I am Death.
Geoffrey:            Well that’s cast rather a gloom over the evening hasn’t it?
Katzenberg:       I don’t see it that way, Geoff. Let me tell you what I think we’re dealing with here, a potentially positive learning experience…
Grim Reaper:    Shut up! Shut up you American. You always talk, you Americans, you talk and you talk and say ‘Let me tell you something’ and ‘I just wanna say this’, Well you’re dead now, so shut up.

Frank Sinatra’s My Way always made me terribly uncomfortable, even as a child. I mean, yes, it’s  Frank’s world and the rest of us only live in it, and yes, the mere mention of his name did once rescue Seamus and I from an otherwise normal B&B Breakfast in Scotland, but even as I child, I felt there was something horribly horribly wrong with screaming (at Death), yeah, I did it wrong, but it was my wrong, damn it.

Those, brothers and sisters, are the words of Satan. And today’s reading calls us on it.

Where the Latin has “sapientibus et prudentibus” the Greek has σοφῶν καὶ συνετῶν sophon kai syneton. Knox, the KJV, and the Douay both have “wise and prudent” (which does render the Latin really well) but the Greek syneton has this extra layer, according to Strongs:

4908 synetós (an adjective, derived from 4920 /syníēmi, “to understand by synthesizing”) – properly, “personal” understanding that results from correlating facts (concepts), i.e. as understanding works in keeping with one’s own perspective.
“Personal comprehension” (4908 /synetós) however is only sound when it follows God’s word. 4908 /synetós (“understanding”) apart from faith (“God’s inbirthed persuasions”) simply expresses the limitations (biases) of the thinker – which is the usual (negative) connotation of this term in the NT. See: Mt 11:25; Lk 10:21; 1 Cor 1:19. See 4920 (syníēmi).
[The other occasion of 4908 (synetós) in the NT, Ac 13:7, is more neutral. But even here it doesn’t reflect the prudence (intelligence) that comes directly from the Holy Spirit.]

It’s personal knowledge. Stuff i worked out on my own. Don’t bother me. I know what I’m doing. I’m convinced I’m right. I’m gonna do this my way durn it all, back off. My truth. Or: welcome to the modern world. Those are the words of Satan and Jesus says we’re wrong.

We don’t, actually, get to make up whatever we want. God’s got a say in it. In fact, God laid down some rules, some guidelines. I usually think it’s wise to consult the owner’s manual first. Only very unimportant things like websites and TV shows come without instruction manuals. More important things: Marriages, Childrearing, Jobs, these all come with instruction manuals. It’s only the silly that ignore them.

Children know this, sorta, until we school it out of them: there are rules. Some things are fair. Somethings are bad. We use the same skills to teach them otherwise that a child molester uses in grooming victims: Yes, Mommy just told a lie about your age to get a free ticket on the plane. But don’t tell anyone it’s ok. Yes, we’re cheat on our taxes, but they were stealing from us first, and we can buy you more presents. Yes, there is a Santa Claus would Daddy lie to you? It’s ok, i didn’t mean to hurt them, but they deserved it. You have to learn to punch back. You can have anything you want. Sure, you can watch TV. Don’t bother me kid, until I need you… Before you know it the kids are real citizens of the world, schooled in lies, covert action, coy betrayal, and manipulation. They’ll do it their way as well.

When we stumble around going everyone to his own way, we are breaking communion, not only with God, but with each other. The Church defines us a persons in communion with God through our communion with each other. We’re not persons without that. We are merely, to borrow Cicero’s word, a bunch of homunculi: automatons. Highly efficient, as far as the state’s control is concerned, but failing to live up to the God given personhood we each are called to be.

As an homunculus, “My way” is always just like everyone else’s. We are, as far as “my way” goes, as unique as penguins. But we close our eyes to that fact because it burns us, my precious. If you watch the Godfather, even Frankie had to do it someone else’s way.

So, Jesus calls us to the minds of Little Children, instead of stunted individuals. Lay aside the selfish ideas of “I know I’m right anyway” and open up to the reality of revelation. Take up the humbling and yet highly obligated throne of human responsibility. Lay down your paper crowns before the King of Kings and learn that to serve is to reign.

.

Well. Isn’t That Special.

JMJ
The Readings for Monday 1 Advent (Year 2):
I heard a sermon on this passage once where the Centurion’s servant was called his lover. At that time, I did a search (I think it was called “Ask Jeeves” in that century, or maybe Yahoo) and I found no resources at all for that reading. It was one more brick in the bridge that lead me out of the Episcopal Church towards truth. Today, however, a well constructed google of Jesus and Centurion, or Centurion and Boy, will bring a ton of scandal your way.

On the one hand, “doulos” is slave and Matthew decided to use “pais“. I think that’s a purposeful choice. On the other hand, the idea that Jesus would be so indirect in making a change of direction in the religion is laughable. The idea that he would be so very indirect as to require 2 millennia of culture to “finally figure it out” is Satanic. This is God in the flesh. He’s already said a bunch of things to anger the religious authorities of the day (including somethings about sex). The idea that he can only hint, here, in ways it will take 21st century Americans to finally get is like saying God was “limited by his culture”.

Jesus was not endorsing a gay relationship. And certainly not one that was based on power and domination or, power, domination, and paedophila.

But Matthew chose pais and not doulos. Why? We’ll not know this side of asking him in glory, but I think there’s a pattern here – not just in this story, but in all of Matthew. And I think it ties in with Matthew the Tax Collector turned into Evangelist: Mathew is king of the unexpected.

The Gospel of the Ancestry of Jesus from Matthew 1:1-25 is a tongue-twisting text contains three surprises: Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. It is held by some scholars that this text describes the actual lineage of Joseph who was thought to be Jesus’ father. (The different tracing in Luke is thought to be of Mary.) So, of course, this is not a lineage by blood – for Joseph had no part in Mary’s childbearing. Yet this lineage, cited by St Matthew’s Community, contains a two – or maybe three – Gentile women, with one being a prostitute and another an adulteress.

This parallels well other of St Matthew’s texts which might be read as surprising – if not downright scandalous – to his community. He’s got a Centurion and his “boy” as we read today, gentiles, sinners… At the end of the Gospel (28:17) he even commissions people who doubt him – seen with their own eyes – to preach his gospel! Given what we think, today, about how the Gospels were written: a collection of sacred stories remembered in a given Community and codified and written down for use in that community. When something is (assumedly) shocking to the community and yet included in the text, then, we might want to think it more likely to be true. Your Messiah had as ancestors a prostitute, an adulteress and, at least, two (maybe three) gentiles.

“Gasp,” say all the old ladies.
“Praise the Lord,” say everyone. And all the old ladies nod and say, “Amen.”
And everyone worships the Lord together.

See, “doulos” is slave and Matthew decided to use “pais“, I think, just because someone, somewhere, is annoyed that Matthew used to be a Tax Collector. Someone, somewhere, is annoyed that everyone isn’t exactly like them. There’s enough of a tinge of GASP around “pais” to make people sit up and go, “Oh, right: the God that loves us.”

Jesus was not exactly reputable. Kings will fall silent in his presence, this son of a prostitute, adultery, gentiles, and a Virgin. See? God can work it out. He really can. The Lineage of David may be a mess, but God can work it out. It’s not an unplanned pregnancy, in fact, it’s very planned. Very planned, indeed.

Jesus is, by all standards today, a bit of a hot mess: too liberal for the conservatives, with his willingness to eat with sinners and to party with tax collectors; and too conservative for the liberals (because, “go and sin no more” is too much condemnation for anyone today). He’s born in poverty, and really doesn’t hang out with the right sort of people. He doesn’t care what your opinions are – he wants you to do things, to give away all you have, to love people. If we want it to be “normal” we’re going to miss out on the things God has for us.

We can be like Joseph, but instead of hiding Mary “to protect ‘her’ from scandal” (ie, to protect Joseph from scandal) we’re trying to protect us from scandal by hiding the real Jesus.

Matthew keeps his reading community on the edge of their seats and kings will shut their mouths – because this entirely unsuitable being, fathered by smelly sheepherders and unsavory women – is God. So, there’s hope for us – you and I – who mostly fall between Prostitutes and Kings on the social spectrum. There’s hope.

“Gasp,” say all the old ladies.
“Praise the Lord,” say everyone. And all the old ladies nod and say, “Amen.”
And everyone worships the Lord together.

How unbelievably awesome is that? How glorious is our God that lifts up even the bourgeoisie among sinners by going even lower than us to raise us all together.

See the Watch Swing Back and Forth

 

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JMJ

The Readings for Sunday 1 Advent (Year B):

Videte vigilate et orate nescitis enim quando tempus sit
Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is.
The first Sunday of Advent is the first Sunday of the Church year. It is purely #churchgeek humor to say “Happy New Year” today. In those places where the Church Calendar held sway over the secular world, it is March 25th that is the new year. The 1st Sunday of Advent is a good place to begin  liturgical books, yes: but it was not always so. Some places had multiple books in use, some places had more than four Sundays in Advent. However, as the Roman Rite became the standard through the western world, and – especially after the Reformation – as there was more standardization around liturgical publications, this was the first Sunday listed in the book.
Advent is intended to liturgically replicate the waiting of the people of Israel for the promised Messiah. Since we know Messiah has come, it’s sort of hard to replicate the waiting. Liturgical piety has, therefore, tended to focus a lot of this season on the Final Advent, the coming of Christ as Judge. So we have today’s readings, where Isaiah has the people begging for God to come to them, or St Paul thankful that God will keep the Corinthians firm in their faith “until the end”. Jesus calls out to us, WATCH!
Isaiah has the Israelites mourning, Quare errare nos fecisti Domine de viis tuis indurasti cor nostrum ne timeremus te? Why hast thou made us to err, O Lord, from thy ways: why hast thou hardened our heart, that we should not fear thee? But that’s not the way to negotiate with God, right? To blame him for leading us astray. God calls us forward to himself. He does so in gentleness and peace – if we want to wander around on our own, he lets us. We are stranded not because he misled us in the wilderness, but because we rejected clear instructions and guidance. Jesus calls out to us, WATCH.

Jesus knows that the Holy Trinity neither leads us into sin, nor gives us permission to sin. God lets us go, though: he never holds us back, although he calls to us constantly. If we want to go another way, it’s easy enough. This is why the command is “Watch”! The Greek is ἀγρυπνέω agrypneo, coming from the words for “not sleeping”. The Greek word for sleep, hypno, is where I want to go today: because our modern spin on “hypno” is much closer to what Jesus is talking about than simply sleep.

Hypnosis: being so distracted by something that you don’t notice anything else. We spend our days hypnotized by our computers, our phones, our sex lives, our politics, our food pictures: anything but thinking about what is really important. This is sleep. This is death. The thing is, watching a screen for a couple of moments can mean hours in the real world! It can be as simple as waiting for a bus… but your eyes are glued to the screen and your finger is numb from the cold. And you’re trapped.

It’s easy for us to see the electronic hypnosis that most of us use (some of us are employed to create it), but this is only a second-degree of hypnosis. The world, itself, is a distraction, a huge sleep machine that draws us away from God, away from each other and, in the end, away from our very selves. I’m not just avoiding you, God, the world, and everything. I’m avoiding me. We know this to be true because we have a God-shaped hole in our hearts. The entirety of Creation tends Godward – except for us. We tend to trend away and we do so while convinced that we are driving towards something.

It’s easy to explain this graphically. If the universe is nearly an infinity (or close enough to infinity to make no difference) it’s mathematically impossible for two specks to drive towards each other and touch. Only by moving Godward, towards a new infinity, can any of us come closer to each other. Anything that keeps us away from that other infinity destroys our chances at making it here, now.

And then we die.

As I was writing that a retweet came across my feed: my friend retweeting the AP that a ICBM had been launched by North Korea. That’ll snap your attention to, let me tell ya!

God doesn’t harden our hearts to make a point. But he won’t stop us from running away to harden them ourselves. And our Judgment Day lament of “God why did this happen?” will not go over well.

What have you done to at least soften your heart a little? How much time do you have left?

When was the last time you said I love you and meant it, sacrificially willing the Good of the other? When was the last time you went to confession and really humbled yourself before the Lord? When was the last time you shrugged your shoulders on a Holy Day of Obligation and said, “That doesn’t really matter?” When was the last time you tossed out the Church’s 2,000 years of teaching on Abortion or Race or Welcoming the Stranger and said, “I can vote any way I want”?

When I count to three and snap my fingers, you will wake up.

Or die.

WATCH!