Looking for an inspiration to draw closer to God, I picked up my Bible and dropped it open. I read the story from Chronicles about how King Josiah held a huge Passover meal, providing all the people of Israel with meat sacrifices. Once again, it looks like a community-wide parish festival, with the Levites Working until nightfall cooking the food and distributing it to everyone, including the guards standing watch. There is a similar story about King David doing the same thing on the day they brought the tabernacle to the temple. What’s the significance? How does that connect to a middle class father in American in the 21st Century?
Last night my wife, our Priest and I met with a couple from the parish to ask them to give to a new endowment fund for seminarians. It was a pleasant chat; they are already doing a lot for the church; they’ll do what they can. What’s the significance; where’s the tie to King Josiah and to Jesus?
In today’s first reading, Paul talks about the meeting he had with Peter, James and John and how they agreed the latter three would take the Gospel to the Jews while Paul would focus on the Gentiles. During that visit, Paul chastised Peter for not practicing what he preaches; for “drawing away from the Gentiles,” when the Jews are around. Paul says he told Peter that he was being a hypocrite, and to stop it because the people around him were copying his behavior.
Josiah cared for his community, making sure that everyone had a lamb or a bull to slaughter, and taking meat to soldiers and others who could not attend the feast. My wife, the priest, and the couple we met were preparing another sacrifice, a financial one, to make sure that our community would have priests and that those priests’ training and education would be provided for. And Paul and Peter divided up their responsibilities to create communities of Christians among both Jews and Gentiles, and they corrected one another so that those communities would not be led astray by Peter’s mistaken actions.
God wants us all to work in community. He did not choose to send a man to live in a palace and control the people; that’s not the model God gave us. He sent us, he made us into a community. He told us to care for one another as though we were caring for ourselves, or, according to Jesus, as though we were caring for God himself. Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.
Christianity is a contact sport. It’s not a solo act, and it cannot be perfected by one person sitting all alone. I’ll take that thought even one step further; Christianity is not Christianity until it is practiced. It’s a pleasant Bible study, but without actions it does nothing. Perhaps that’s why the Bible says, “Faith without works is dead.”
Have a spiritual day.