Friday, March 16, 2012

4th Sunday of Lent–Year B 2012

Hit-BottomYou know having been a college chaplain for so long I’ve met a lot of young adults and I’ve met a lot of parents.

And every year I grew in appreciation for the vocation of being a parent.

It’s a beautiful vocation, it’s one of the most noble tasks that God can give to a person and it’s not easy.

Good Parents and most of you  are good parents, are somehow able to nurture, educate, provide for, correct and love their children into adulthood.

Many parents don’t see how much of an effect they have on their children but every parent does indeed have a profound effect on their child in every possible way.

One of the most significant qualities of a good parent is patience.

Parenting has to be done patiently, not matter how hard you try, no matter how much you yell or punish or cry or plead… growing up takes time.

Sometimes it seems to take forever.

And then one day around 21 years old or sometimes even younger all of a sudden there is a person standing in front of you, a beautiful person, a confident person, hopefully even a holy person.

One of the hardest lessons a parent has to learn is that sometimes you simply have to let your child hit bottom and then be there to help them pick up the pieces.

Sometimes after everything else has been done that’s the only course of action left.

That’ really hard to do especially for this new generation of helicopter parents who hover like crazy.

And who would like to cover the world with pillows so that if their kid ever fell down they would not hurt themselves.

In the first reading God simply had to let Israel bottom out.

He had given them everything they needed.

When they were unfaithful he sent them prophet after prophet.

He begged them, he tried to woo them, he even punished them.

God did everything he could and they simply would not listen.

So he left them to themselves and  all of their intrigues and infidelity failed them.

They were defeated in battle and Jerusalem their beloved city and temple were destroyed

And then they were all marched into exile.

In other words he let them hit bottom.

It was only after they lost everything or nearly everything and only after they lived in near slavery that were they able to open their hearts to God again.

Watching someone you love bottom out is never easy.

It is one of the most difficult things a parent or spouse or grandparent or friend can do.

However, Just as God remained faithful to Israel even after they hit bottom so we too must remain faithful to those we love no matter what.

Sometimes actually almost all the time the journey to the bottom hurts everyone involved.

But when the bottom is finally hit and the person sincerely raises their hand for help, or even simply raises their eyes for help, our response must be quick it must be heartfelt and it must be complete.

In the Gospel today we read one of the most quoted passages in scripture. It is John 3:16

It speaks about how radical our love must be especially for those who have hit bottom.

You see this passage all over the place at sporting events on bill boards and recently I even saw it once a tattoo.

We Catholics aren’t great a memorizing scriptures but here it is let’s write it on our hearts.

Repeat after me….

“God so loved the world that he sent his only son that all who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal live.

May our love be as strong,

and as complete,

and as selfless as God’s love.

Even and especially when someone love when someone close to us has to hit bottom.


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