He Meets Us Where We Are

08-29-2021Weekly Reflection© LPi

Albert Einstein said that the “true measure of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Being a disciple of Jesus Christ requires a great deal of imagination. It is not enough to simply attend to facts, rules and rituals and consider the job done. Quite contrarily, the Gospels demands creativity, of trying to discern how to put flesh on the Beatitudes and properly serve God’s children. Jesus never doled out a top down agenda. Not once did he ever demand conformity over conversion or sacrifice over mercy. The Gospel is always about putting people in touch with their compassionate, forgiving, and unconditionally loving God and meeting them where they are.

For Jesus, it often meant breaking a few rules. Well respected and time-honored traditions had to be set aside in order to attend to what really mattered. God’s compassion, mercy and true conversion were always the trump cards. The story of the Good Samaritan, healing on the Sabbath, and bypassing of purification rituals all display this theme. Human beings can get too hung up on protocol and tradition. This is so much so that often preserving all of these things is of greater concern than the beggar knocking on our door or the sinner looking for mercy. It is no wonder, then, that we can easily become hypocritical. Many can see us on our knees in prayer while our true heart and actions, rooted in judgment and self-preservation, are hidden from others. It is a trap into which we can easily fall. Who cares how we live our lives as long as our hands are properly washed!

Here enters the need for imagination and the distinction of truly being a wise and intelligent person. It takes a good measure of creativity and a lot of guts to really be a doer of God’s word and not merely a hearer. Being a person who doesn’t just tell people about God but shows people God requires courage and ingenuity. That’s why people like St. Francis of Assisi and St. Teresa of Calcutta are timeless. Their genuineness speaks volumes generation to generation. It’s risky business taking the step to allow God into our hearts. Permitting God to release us from the grip of our evil thoughts, infidelity, greed, malice, sexual improprieties, licentiousness, envy, arrogance, folly, and the like takes courage. That’s why we prefer to spend our energy rearranging the future rather than take measures to secure a foundation that is most certainly crumbling.