Monday, September 26, 2016

Going to the Dogs

"Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores" (Luke 16:21).

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Rom. 13:9).  The story of the Rich Man and Lazarus seems to teach this commandment only through a negative example.  The rich man did not care for his neighbor.

But there is in the story also a shining positive example of loving your neighbor as yourself.  It is the dogs who came and licked the poor man's sores.  A dog is a man's best friend.  In the case of Lazarus, they may have been his only friends.

Israelites thought of dogs differently than we do.  They were unclean, scavengers, and a source of disease.  So we think that Jesus mentions the dogs in order to underscore Lazarus's suffering.  He could do nothing to keep the dirty dogs away.

But from another angle a love shines through.  What do dogs do for themselves?  They lick their sores and wounds (an action that removes dead tissue and promotes healing).  In coming and licking the sores of Lazarus, they give a perfect lesson on the commandment: You shall lick your neighbor as yourself.

The dogs acted instinctively.  The instinct of sinful man is to love himself.  The love of Christ and the Holy Spirit implant a new instinct: to love your neighbor, especially the one who is hurting.

Let's all go to the dogs, and follow their example.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Christ Crucified

"...but we preach Christ crucified..." (1 Cor. 1:23).

What do you get when you cross God with man?

Christ crucified.

Jesus Christ is the Godman.  This means that He is both God and man.  Now, He is not half God and half man.  No, He is wholly God and wholly man.  And He is holy God and holy man - a man without sin.

This Jesus Christ gave Himself on the cross as a ransom for all.  He who knew no sin became the sin of the whole world.  He became all of your sins and mine, that we might become nothing but righteous before God.

All of this is contained in the words "Christ crucified."

Believe in the Godman Jesus Christ, and that through Him and His cross you have right now the forgiveness of sins, peace with God, and an open heaven!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Holy Cross Days

The Ground Zero Cross must be remembered.  It tells of a God who suffered for us, and who suffers with us.

"...the cross of Jesus" (John 19:25).

September 13 and 14 should share the name Holy Cross.

To begin with, September 14 has long been called Holy Cross Day.  On that day in the year 320 Helena, the mother of Constantine, is believed to have discovered the cross of our Lord on which He died.  It is one of the earliest Christian feast days, and points to the centrality of the death of Jesus in the Christian faith.

Enter September 13, one day before.  On this day in 2001 an excavator named Frank Silecchia discovered, amid the rubble of the World Trade Center, a cross.  A T-beam weighing thousands of pounds had the unmistakable shape of a cross, and had fallen into a perfect upright position.  It was carefully removed, blessed, and stands today.

I confess, I don't know for a fact whether Helena found the actual cross of Christ.  What I do know is that Frank Silecchia did.  And he found it where the true cross will be found: right smack in the middle of human tragedy, suffering, and death.

To bring us through.