Our daily bread…
(Gathering Our Inheritance)
Knowing that we can claim ownership of our inheritance in the living hour is one thing. But what are we supposed to do with that knowledge? The childhood keys of wonderment and immediacy help unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven, but they don’t have the power to usher us across the threshold. To cross into the kingdom and gather our inheritance, we have to move beyond the carefree world of the child and into the care-driven world of adults—to expand our concerns beyond the “me” to include the “us”.
We can begin by recognizing that although the spontaneity of the child and the adult are similar, they are not one and the same. Take for example the miracles that Jesus performs in the Gospels. If we can set aside the unanswerable question of whether or not these miracles actually occurred, we can begin to see the miracle stories as parables of spontaneity, ones which teach us that living in Christ means immediately responding to the needs of others. Whether it is healing the sick,1 walking on water,2 or turning water into wine,3 Jesus never hesitates but responds spontaneously and confidently to those who call out to him.
Spontaneous charity is taught also by the story of the Good Samaritan.4 In this well–known parable a man gets robbed and beaten while on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest and a local man pass by him as he lies half–dead on the road. Finally a stranger from Samaria stops, tends to his wounds, and takes him to an inn to recuperate, paying the man’s bills—all without giving his actions a second thought.
The genuine caring shown by the Good Samaritan sheds light on Jesus’s enigmatic teaching: “When you do acts of charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your charity may be secret; and your Father, who sees what is in secret, will recompense you.”5 By performing our acts of charity spontaneously like the Samaritan, we keep them secret from our egos (that part of us which wants to debate whether we have the time, money, or energy to respond to others in need), and we allow our Christ consciousness to rise (that part of us which recognizes that when others suffer we suffer too). Our charity is thus driven by nothing except a true generosity of spirit.
Jesus encourages us to bring that same spirit to our acts of fellowship. The generosity of Christ is shown by welcoming all the members of our community to our table—the good and the bad, the funny and the dull, the smart and the annoying. Look at the way Jesus accepted twelve very flawed apostles as his intimates. That he took in Judas (knowing full well that he would betray him) and never gave up on the poor, clueless, and overzealous Peter should be a lesson to us all. Furthermore, we are told how Jesus regularly sat down to eat and drink with his neighbors,6 regardless of how “righteous” they might be or what other people thought—so much so that he was unfairly labeled a glutton and a wino.7
Never has Jesus’s gospel of fellowship and acceptance had more…
The Lord’s Prayer. To continue reading, click on page 2 at the bottom.
- “Sir,” he said, “my servant is lying ill at my house with a stroke of paralysis, and is suffering terribly.” 7 “I will come and cure him,” answered Jesus. – Matthew 8:6–7 [↩]
- When evening fell, the boat was out in the middle of the sea, and Jesus on the shore alone. 48 Seeing them laboring at the oars—for the wind was against them—about three hours after midnight Jesus came towards them, walking on the water, intending to join them. – Mark 6:47–48 [↩]
- Jesus said to the servants: “Fill the water-jars with water;” 8 And, when they had filled them to the brim, he added: “Now take some out, and carry it to the master of the feast.” The servants did so. 9 And, when the master of the feast had tasted the water which had now become wine, not knowing where it had come from—although the servants who had taken out the water knew—10 He called the bridegroom and said to him: “Everyone puts good wine on the table first, and inferior wine afterwards, when his guests have drunk freely; but you have kept back the good wine till now!” – John 2:6–10 [↩]
- A man was once going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him of everything, and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 As it chanced, a priest was going down by that road. He saw the man, but passed by on the opposite side. 32 A Levite, too, did the same; he came up to the spot, but, when he saw the man, passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan, traveling that way, came upon the man, and, when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, dressing them with oil and wine, and then put him on his own mule, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out four shillings and gave them to the inn-keeper. ‘Take care of him,’ he said, ‘and whatever more you may spend I will myself repay you on my way back.’ – Luke 10: 30–35 [↩]
- Matthew 6:3–4 [↩]
- The Pharisees and the teachers of the law found fault. “This man always welcomes sinners, and takes meals with them!” they complained. – Luke 15:2 [↩]
- And now that the Son of Man has come, eating and drinking, they are saying: ‘Here is a glutton and a wino, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!’ Matthew 11:19 [↩]
Gospel of Matthew 26
When Jesus had finished all this teaching, he said to his disciples: 2 “You know that in two days time, the festival of the Passover will be here; and that the Son of Man is to be given up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the councilors of the nation met in the house of the high priest, named Caiaphas, 4 And plotted together to arrest Jesus by stealth and put him to death; 5 But they said: “Not during the festival, for fear of causing a riot.”
6 After Jesus had reached Bethany, and while he was in the house of Simon the leper, 7 A woman came up to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and poured the ointment upon his head as he was at a table. 8 The disciples were indignant at seeing this. “What is this waste for?” they exclaimed. 9 “It could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to poor people.” 10 “Why are you troubling the woman?” Jesus said, when he noticed it, “For this is a beautiful deed that she has done to me.”
11 “You always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this perfume on my body, she has done it for my burial. 13 I tell you, wherever in the whole world this gospel is proclaimed, what this woman has done will be told in memory of her.” 14 It was then that one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, made his way to the chief priests, 15 And said “What are you willing to give me, if I betray Jesus to you?” The priests ‘weighed him out thirty pieces of silver‘ as payment. 16 So from that time Judas looked for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
17 On the first day of the festival of the unleavened bread, the disciples came up to Jesus, and said: “Where do you wish us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 18 “Go into the city to a certain man,” he answered, “and say to him: ‘The Teacher says: My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 The disciples did as Jesus directed them, and prepared the Passover.
20 In the evening Jesus took his place with the twelve disciples, 21 And, while they were eating, he said: “I tell you that one of you will betray me.” 22 In great grief they began to say to him, one by one: “Can it be I, Master?” 23 “The one who dipped his bread beside me in the dish,” replied Jesus, “is the one who will betray me. 24 True, the Son of Man must go, as scripture says of him, yet woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is being betrayed! For that man ‘it would be better never to have been born!’” 25 And Judas, who was betraying him, turned to him and said: “Can it be I, Rabbi?” “You have said it,” answered Jesus.
26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and, after saying the blessing, broke it and, as he gave it to his disciples, said: “Take it and eat it; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and, after saying the thanksgiving, gave it to them, with the words: “Drink from it, all of you; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 And I tell you that I shall never, after this, drink of this juice of the grape, until that day when I shall drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father.” 30 They then sang a hymn, and went out to the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them: “Even you will fall away from me tonight. Scripture says: ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But, after I have risen, I shall go before you into Galilee.” 33 “If everyone else falls away from you,” Peter answered, “I shall never fall away!” 34 “I tell you,” replied Jesus, “that this very night, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times!” 35 “Even if I must die with you,” Peter exclaimed, “I shall never disown you!” All the disciples spoke in the same way.
36 Then Jesus came with them to a garden called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples: “Sit down here while I go and pray yonder.” 37 Taking with him Peter, and the two sons of Zebediah, he began to show signs of sadness and deep distress of mind. 38 “I am sad at heart,” he said, “sad even to death; wait here and watch with me.” 39 Going on a little further, he threw himself on his face in prayer. “My Father,” he said, “if it is possible, let me be spared this cup; only, not as I will, but as thou willest.”
40 Then he came to his disciples, and found them asleep. “What!” he said to Peter, “could none of you watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that you may not fall into temptation. True, the spirit is eager, but human nature is weak.” 42 Again, a second time, he went away, and prayed. “My Father,” he said, “if I cannot be spared this cup, but must drink it, thy will be done!”
To continue reading Chapter 26 of the Gospel of Matthew, please click on page 2 below.