February 15, 2017

Rain is gonna getcha regardless. Foolish man built his house on sand. Rain fell, floods came, winds blew. The wise man built his house on rock. Rain fell, floods came, winds blew. Conclusion: expect weather anyway. You can’t avoid it. Forecast: clouds, cold and soggy; fronts, dark and heavy; storms, stinging and blinding.

These kinds don’t just mess up hair and houses. These ones mess up hearts and hopes. “In this world you will have tribulation.” “We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered,” “always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake.” We suffer being ridiculed and excluded. We get labeled and discriminated. Neighbors slander and once-trusted associates sabotage because we speak truth. Enemies harass us and allies humiliate because we share good.

Even Jesus couldn’t elude it. Incarnate God also went through it. He came unto His own, and they received Him not. The thirteen apostles, also all martyred. Hundreds of others under synagogues and Sanhedrins. Further thousands at the hands of Caesars and sultans. Millions more by heathens and hedonists. No matter how much you try or have, you can’t escape the weather. Rain’s gonna getcha.

But don’t settle into a persecution complex just yet. Hold up before playing the victim. What will we build while we’re still tearing down? The floods and gusts begin within, don’t they. You and I are the danger. Even if we’re passionately life-affirming, enthusiastically scriptural, and intensely Christian, we do not do the good we want, if we want it at all. No, the evil we don’t want, or which we sometimes do desire, this we practice.

We give in to instincts for complaining and name-calling. We imagine ourselves superior to that tax collector or that prostitute. We malign the misguided compassion of our counterparts while manifesting none of our own. We self-righteously beat others with Bibles, but only the sections that suit us. We repeat provocative rhetoric and sarcasm. We pelt them with pieces of their own crumbling structures instead of hearing their deep-down pleas.

Are we defending lives by destroying lives? Does our God only differ from theirs in size? Robbing children to pay their father only infuriates both. How can we talk like every life matters when we treat so many otherwise? Stones thrown even at enemies only come from walls sheltering oneself. Law cannot spare anyone, either by placating God or implicating another.

Good thing we don’t have to shelter ourselves. The Good Lord sweeps aside all self-made sanctuaries. Before rubble buries us, He situates us instead inside His own impregnable castle. We find refuge behind the Son of the Living God. Heavenly Word has become human substance. This stricken rock streams forth a water that cleanses and quenches. This rolled-back boulder reveals convictions overturned and an arms-outstretching Father. The Crucified Carpenter weathered the storms we brought on. He withstood God’s wrath and evicted the evil one for our everlasting life.

From sin’s judgment flood, He’s emerged alive again. Now He builds dwelling places from the beams He bore. He encompasses failures within walls of compassion. He encircles sinners with stacked-up stories of unconditional acceptance. He encloses rejects and runts in halls of beloved forgiveness. He cradles bothers and freaks in closets of joy and cabinets of hope.

His household about you stands against even the worst ambushes and offensives Satan and sinful flesh send after you. Believe it yourself with a blessed abandon. Cling to Him as your own and claim yourself His. Derive your security from His baptismal fatherliness. Obtain your solace in His eucharistic closeness. The Lord Jesus is a man(sion) for all seasons.

So what will you do with the extra? The wise man’s house has not fallen. Rains and winds may come, but gates of hell shall not prevail. Awfully, however, falls the foolish one’s house. Fools just like us writhe in the wreckage of makeshift shacks. And here we stand with roofs and rooms to spare. What will come of buffoonish hearts whose homes were blown down?

What of the deceived and the desperate? What about those abandoned or ashamed? How will the unborn and the elderly end up? Are they not also fashioned, forgiven, longed for, and sought after by Father, Son, and Spirit? We can take part in their rescue. We get to speak truth and trust it changes hearts. We must show love and know it saves lives. We will ensure the same respect and protection for them as we enjoy.

We will listen the way Jesus receives. We will accompany them as He abides beside us. We will brave the hurt and befriend the injured like He finds us and binds us up. We will treat them as special to heaven’s whole household until we behold what He foresees: His estate filled to all degrees and festive unto unending days. Amen.