The Key Is The Promise – Not The Problem
Thoughts on the First Readings -Joe Frankenfield
4th Sunday of Easter
Acts 2:14a, 36-41
A mother told me the following tale. She had walked into her kitchen to find her five year old lighting matches and throwing them into the wastebasket. She, naturally, sat him down and gave him a stern talk ending with the picture of the disaster that would have happened had she not walked into the room and prevented it. To her amazement, he tearfully promised never to play with matches again unless she was nearby! Whenever I hear entreaties for us to repent, I think of that story. What does our Creator call us to repent of?
Generally, when folks voice their sorrow for and intent to change some behaviors, they’re referring to actions commonly thought sinful: mistreatment of others, selfishness, abuse of some substance and the like. As harmful as such behaviors are and as important as it is to stop them, faith looks for a more profound repentance.
In the address Peter made to his fellow Jews gathered in Jerusalem he didn’t point to the everyday failings that, doubtlessly, fill their lives. He, instead, pointed to Jesus, the man who revealed the world that their Creator wanted to accomplish through them.
Make Jesus the template for how you view life, what you deem possible and reasonable. Let his love for you – the Creator’s love for you – overcome your insecurity and your need to take advantage of those weaker than you. Move from being self-absorbed to being world-absorbed. End the fight in your heart. Believe that you can be the touch of Love for everyone you meet just as Jesus was. Accept a new reality: a reality rooted in the Creator’s love rather than your fears.
Little boys can be forgiven for not understanding the danger of fire and, with luck, their parents will continue to prevent conflagrations. We, however, have to get the point of Jesus. He wasn’t the morality police. He wasn’t a divine “Miss Manners.” Jesus was a call to rethink life. He was an offer of freedom for us to be what God created us to be and to live in the world that God is trying to give us.