Posted: 27 Feb 2009 11:00 PM PST (Catholic Exchanged)
Gn 9:8-15 / 1Pt 3:18-22 / Mk 1:12-15
A Hindu priest, a Jewish rabbi, and a fairly disreputable TV evangelist were caught in a terrific thunderstorm and sought shelter in a farmhouse. “You can stay for the night,” said the farmer, “but there’s only room for two of you. The third will have to sleep in the barn.”
“I’ll be the one,” said the Hindu and he headed for the barn. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door. It was the Hindu. “I’m sorry,” he said, “but there’s a cow in the barn and according to my religion cows are sacred and one mustn’t intrude on their space.”
“No problem,” said the rabbi, “I’ll sleep in the barn.” But a few minutes later there was a knock at the door. It was the rabbi. “I’m terribly sorry, but there’s a pig in the barn. In my religion pigs are unclean and I couldn’t possible sleep in the place with a pig.”
“Oh, all right,” said the TV evangelist, “I’ll go sleep in the barn.” A few minutes later, there was a knock at the door. It was the cow and the pig!
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There are parts of us all that could make even the cows and pigs run for cover. There are parts of us that need re-thinking, re-forming, and re-shaping, as Jesus says. How much happier and more satisfying our lives could be if we did change, but for some reason, more often than not we don’t. Why is this so? What’s standing in our way?
Partly it’s our blindness. There’s a lot we don’t see because we don’t take the time to look. But there’s a lot more we don’t see because we’ve closed our eyes — to avoid looking.
Now what could scare us so badly that we’d risk walking around with our eyes closed? Just this: the fear that whatever’s wrong with us is just too big and too bad to be fixed. “You can’t fix that,” whispers the little voice inside us, “so don’t even try.”
That little voice could be right. If we listen to Jesus calling out to us in the Gospel, “Re-form your lives — now!” and if we imagine him looming over us as a judge with arms folded or finger wagging, then you can be sure, that little voice is right: the serious business of changing is utterly beyond us.
But that’s not where Jesus stands as he calls us to re-think, re-form and re-shape. He stands at our side and he says, “You can do it, because I’m going to help you. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen fast, but if you stick with me, it will happen. We’ll do it together, one piece at a time.”
As Lent begins and we ponder what is unfinished in us, this is our Lord’s offer and his promise. “Take courage,” he says, “and dare to hope. You can change. Life is within your reach and I’ll walk with you all the way.”