Saturday, January 19, 2013

Even If You’re NOT Stupid… Keep it Simple


Even I stand a chance of understanding today’s readings. Even I can get a hold of what they are saying. Here’s what I mean.

“The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword…”

Paul doesn't leave much to the imagination.

“The law of the LORD is perfect…the decree of the LORD is trustworthy…the precepts of the LORD are right…”

The Psalmist’s point isn’t too hard to figure out.

“All the crowds came to him and he taught them.”

“Jesus said to him “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him.”

“I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

Mark doesn't mince words, and neither does Jesus.

In each of our readings today there is a directness; almost a sense of urgency. The meanings are clear, the thinking straightforward, and the direction unmistakable. We are at the end of the first week in Ordinary Time; Lent is literally just around the bend. We need to focus on what we are doing. ..and it’s hard.

In the last three and a half weeks we have celebrated the Incarnation in the birth of Jesus, honored his Holy Family, reveled in his introduction to the whole world through the Magi, mourned the loss of the Holy Innocents, and been absolutely awestruck by the Holy Trinity at the Baptism of Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I can really appreciate a little “straightforward” and “direct” about now…and the timing couldn’t be better.

The nights are getting shorter, and the days longer; we are moving out of the darkness, and into the light; we have to move away from ourselves, and towards him. We must decrease and he must increase.

In the fourteenth century, there was a Franciscan scholar named William of Ockham, and among his many writings, there is a short and sweet statement that has come to be known as “Ockham’s Razor”. What it basically says is “keep it simple”.

So we focus on those simple, direct statements that we hear today. That two-edged sword has to cut away our defects; his law, his decrees, and his precepts need to be written on our hearts; we are the crowd that comes to him, and he teaches us; he asks us to follow him, and we need to get up…and follow him. We are the sinners, and he’s coming for US.   W.W.