Good morning. It is pre-Friday, April 2, 2015. FOUR more days until Opening Day!! The Rangers had their last Spring Training game yesterday, and will be playing the Mets in two exhibition games in Arlington, this weekend. The Red Sox have three more games in Florida, against the Twins, after which they will travel to Philly for Opening Day. The Rangers begin their season in Oakland.
Today is Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” is a word that designates the washing of the feet of the disciples, by Jesus.
Today’s Word of the Day is paladar. This is a word specific to a Cuban situation, meaning, “In Cuba: a small, independent, family-run restaurant, situated in a private home.” There is a side note of explanation: “The restaurants have operated legally in Cuba since 1995, when the Cuban government passed a law allowing the sale of ‘light foods’ from households.”
Today is World Autism Day, a day set aside in 2007, by the United Nations, to raise awareness of Autism in our world. This disorder (a spectrum disorder, as it includes many other disorders), affects at least 1 in every 150 children, worldwide. It has been alleged that this number is now closer to 1 in 50. As of today, the cause is still unknown, although there are some evidences that it is largely genetic. We have an autistic daughter, Stephanie, who is why I will always make mention of this particular “holiday.”
I don’t have much to write about on a personal level, today, and I was late yesterday, so I need to get moving.
Tonight is Huddle night for Christi and the ladies. I plan to get in some trombone practice and watch The Walking Dead.
My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.
Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.
Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.
(From Knowing Jesus)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
Today’s reading is “Jesus, Liberator from the Perils of Wealth.”
“Perils of wealth . . .” That seems kind of ironic, doesn’t it? But if you read the words of Jesus, in the verses above, it makes more sense. Jesus spoke a lot about money, and perhaps more in the book of Luke than anywhere else. Money is a topic that both the rich and the poor seem to be obsessed about. It can be an idol for both classes of people, and this is one reason that Jesus spoke about it.
Our culture “entices us with the attractiveness of wealth.” It promises us that money can bring “success, happiness, prominence, power, and freedom from worry about where our next meal comes from.” It can buy anything and anyone. Millionaires are not so rare in the U.S., these days, but in Jesus’s day, “poverty, not wealth, was the rule of the day.” Jesus walked in the midst of people who were, by our modern standards, poverty-stricken. There was the one man who asked Jesus that question about inheriting eternal life. But he was unwilling to part with his riches. Then there was the parable about the wealthy farmer who kept “building bigger and bigger barns, without a thought for his own mortality.”
Jesus probably had a comfortable life for about thirty years, after which he “became an itinerant evangelist, living off the land, not in sumptuous hotels.” He shunned wealth, claiming that the animals had better homes than he did. He even told his disciples not to pack extra clothes when he sent them on “mission trips.”
Most importantly, Jesus told us that we “waste our time if we worry about money and about the basics money provides. Why should we worry about money when God takes care of sparrows?”
Rather than striving for money, we should be “rich in faith and hope in the living God who knows all [our] needs.” Jesus demands that we stop grabbing for more money and be more generous, giving to the poor, who will always be with us.
Father, I thank you that these teachings have begun to have a foothold in my life over the past few years. I thank you that you have given us a heart to be more generous, but we could still do more. I pray for opportunities to be generous with our resources, and I pray that your Church would also be more generous with the resources that you have provided her. May we all be on the lookout for ways to help the poor and needy in our communities, and may we be less concerned about money in our lives. You have provided for us, and you will continue. You have always given us what we need. We have frequently sought after (and still do) more than we need. May we be more content with less as we go forward.
I pray for this day, that our travel will be safe and smooth. I pray for Christi’s work day, that she will have less stress today, and know your presence in her work day. Keep Stephanie close to your heart today. I pray that we will take the Gospel with us wherever we go. May you grant my parents and Rachel and Justin exactly what they need for this day. Give us this day our daily bread. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Your grace is sufficient.
May we all be less concerned about money and what it offers. May we trust in the hand of God, which takes care of even the smallest of sparrows.
Grace and peace, friends.