Tuesday, November 20

A Rosary Meditation … The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. Here we see Pilate have Jesus whipped even though he knew Christ to be innocent. Today we would call Pilate a people pleaser. People pleasing normally stems from fear. Fear of being disapproved of, spoken harshly to, disliked, fear of fill-in-the-blank. Now the Romans had the upper hand with the Jews so it’s a little hard to understand what Pilate might have been afraid of. Maybe in his case it was a matter of expedience. Whatever his reason he had the innocent Christ scourged. In today’s Gospel reading, Luke 19:1-10, we see Zacchaeus, a tax collector, trying to get a glimpse of Jesus. But he was too short to see over the crowd. I can almost see him at the back of the throng jumping up, trying to see and not being able to. And then he spotted the tree. If he climbed up into the tree he could see Jesus. Jesus, the itinerant rabbi who didn’t condemn but accepted. Accepted even tax collectors. Of course Jesus knew that Zacchaeus was trying to see. Wasn’t that the reason He came? So that people who couldn’t see could? Some can’t see because their blind, some can’t see because self-will is blinding. Others can’t see because, well, they fall short. Or at least they think they do. Jesus knows better. Jesus called to Zacchaeus and told him that He would have dinner with him that same day. Can you imagine the surprise, the joy of Zacchaeus? The result of that meal, the kindness and acceptance of Jesus, was the conversion of Zacchaeus. But there were some, the ones blinded by ego and self-will, who complained. And when people did that, when they complained about the things He did, what did Jesus do? Did he give in to people pleasing? Pilate did when he gave in to the crowd. Jesus never did. Jesus got results, conversions. Pilate’s people pleasing ended in death. Not the death of Jesus so much as his own death. Spiritual death, the death of self-respect and self-worth, all at the hand of fear. God tells us to fear not. When we give in to others, when we follow the crowd, when we cave into peer pressure because we’re afraid of being “different”, we do exactly what Pilate did. And we do the exact opposite of what Jesus did. We are supposed to be conformed to Christ, not the world. This doesn’t mean we can’t give way to the wishes of others when there’s no harm in it. Jesus did that for His Mom once at a wedding. Its ok. But people pleasing out of fear? The desire to be accepted, or just taking the easy way out? When we do that at the expense of our Faith we stand at the pillar, obeying Pilate or the mob rather than God, whip in hand.

Today … St. Dasius. Honestly, I clicked on this saint because I liked the name. I think it has a nice sound. Day~z~us. Poetic, pretty. Little did I know. He was a Roman soldier picked to lead a festival in honor of the pagan god Kronos. He, being Catholic, refused. People pleasing logic might have said “Its ok just this once. God will understand. If I do this now I’ll live to witness for Christ later and for the rest of my life. Surely that would be in accordance with God’s will.” But Godly, saintly logic said “It’s never ok to worship any god but God. I understand that. If I do this now I’ll tarnish and make worthless my witness for Christ for the rest of my life. Standing firm for Jesus is in accordance with God’s will.” The end result was two-fold. From a worldly perspective he literally lost his head. From a Catholic perspective he was faithful unto death, he gained Heaven, and his witness lives on after centuries and into eternity. So much for people pleasing.

Romans 12:2 … “And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God.”

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Published in: on November 20, 2012 at 5:13 am  Comments Off on Tuesday, November 20  
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