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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Peculiar Lot to the World

“We played the flute but you did not dance. We sang a dirge, but you did not weep.” (Luke 7:32)

In this passage from today’s Gospel reading, I am reminded of the ways that the world would have liked Jesus to fit their mold and their expectations, to do as they wished. And in a lot of ways, the world would like the same of us today.
However, we as Christians are a people set apart, and perhaps a bit peculiar to the rest of society. We are called not to conform ourselves to the ways of the world, but to operate rather under the law of Christ, the law of love. It will disappoint and sometimes even anger the powers of this world that we don’t comply with their wishes and expectations. But we say to them “we will not weep to your dirge. We will not dance when and how you say to. Instead, we dance to a different song. We march to the beat of another drum!”

One of those radical and counter-cultural parts of our faith is discussed in today’s first reading. Everybody likes to talk about love but when really lived out to the extent that Jesus calls us to love, it often tends to confuse or offend people. For example, we learn from the world that what you do is of primary importance. You must find a productive and profitable use of your time and what you do, in large part defines your worth. But today we hear that no matter what you do, if it is not done in love, it is worthless – even if it is a seemingly good and worthwhile act. I am reminded here of Mother Theresa’s admonition to do small acts with great love. We are also told in today’s reading from the Corinthians that our love should not seek its own interest – another message that you won’t hear often in our popular culture. And as we know, we are required to love not only those who love us, but also (and especially) to love our enemies.

It is these things, along with many others, that set us apart as God’s chosen people. The world should notice something different about us. Some may be appalled by our refusal to conform to the values of our society, but some will also be very attracted to such an authentic and human way of living where true peace and joy can be found. So let us be that light to the world and salt of the earth, offering the world another way to live and being Christ to those around us.

For today's readings, go to

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