Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The (Bible's) Biggest Loser

I wish there were some way to avoid today's Gospel of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Coming upon this in the Liturgy is a lot like running into an unhappy acquaintance in a parking lot and getting trapped in their vortex of negativity. It is all too familiar ground, and I just don't like looking in that particular mirror.
At least there's a cure (though it's not a cure the man in the Gospel seems to have found): the Mass itself shows the way, by turning everything (everything without exception) into a motive for giving God thanks and praise. St Paul knew how to do that. In prison, staring a very unpleasant death in the face, he wrote to the Philippians that he was sure things would all work out for the spread of the Gospel, and so he was overflowing with joy. Unlike the whiney man in today's Gospel, Paul had found something bigger than himself to focus on, and he interpreted every event in his life through that big-picture lens.
Maybe that is what Lent is supposed to teach us!

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