Saturday, April 2, 2011

I Looked In Vain

I looked in vain for compassion,
For consolers; not one could I find.
For food they gave me poison;
In my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.

Psalm 69

Is Jesus today looking in vain for us?

“These are the times which try men’s souls.” Yes, indeed, these are trying times. There is so much to worry about these days: wars, inflation, 401’s and IRA’s, and will I lose my home or my job --- or both. Trying times, yes, but these are also times in which saints are made, and of people who not only squeak through that narrow door of heaven, but for whom God runs to the door, throws it open and proclaims: “Welcome home, my beloved sons,” and hugs them and kills the fatted calf in celebration. These are times of opportunity for even the worst of sinners, when even those most lost can again find their way: people like you, and me.

Seek the Lord, and you will live.

When are we ever going to find as many poor, and hungry, and homeless at our very door, here in America? If that truly is they, in whom He hides in disguise, when will we ever have so many opportunities to serve Him again? When will we hear Him, and see Him, and watch Him cry, so very close to us, even in our own next door neighbor? Do you not see them everywhere, as I do? If caring for these is truly caring for Him; if loving these is opening His heart, and the doors of heaven, when will we again find such an opportunity?

When will He again give us such an opportunity?

I’m fearful my friends, in times like these. Oh no, I’m not fearful of losing my things: my money, my home, or my prestige. No, I’m fearful of losing my neighbors, my friends, and my fellow church-goers, the ones who say they love my best Friend. This Lent I see many of them praying the Stations of the Cross; the words I hear prayed say they will walk with Him, but will they? When they see the load is heavy, will they volunteer? Even when forced into service, like Simon, will they carry their share of the load?

He said to Peter: “Do you love me?” By our actions, in these difficult time for so many, what are we responding to that question? Do we pretend we don’t hear the voice, or see the sadness?

In these trying times I think about that “narrow gate,” and where “many are called, but few are chosen.” No, I’m afraid the answer I see in many of my friends is: that few choose.

I looked in vain for compassion.

But it is never too late, my friends. The opportunities today abound, to see Him and bring Him joy. We must make that choice, to face Him gladly now in our suffering neighbors, or face Him at some future point, very sadly. Today is a day of opportunity.

You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing.
Mt 25:41-2

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