Audio Available!

Audio Available!
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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Loving from our Anointing

Audio: click here!

What does anointing mean biblically?
Saul was anointed king by the prophet Samuel.  He failed to keep his priorities straight and the Lord chose to make a new king to succeed him from another family.  That man was David, who eventually became the most popular military leader in Israel.  Saul was jealous of David and tried to have him rubbed out, but it didn't work.  God was with David.  Now Saul is hunting David.  Yet David refuses to lay his hand on Saul to protect himself, perhaps not entirely without self-interest but also with clear religious foundation.  God had anointed Saul, too.  So David has mercy on him in the interest of receiving a blessing from above - that God many remain with him.
Now an important side-note: in the church, priests and bishops are anointed, but the biblical protections we see in the first reading are not the same.  If a man betrays his ordination by one of many serious failures to keep priorities straight, justice and goodness demands a timely and fair response.  In fact, for the last few days about two hundred bishops have gathered with Pope Francis in Rome to go over exactly how this will be done across the globe.  Let us pray for the Spirit of God they have received through anointing to give them wisdom and direction.
Now back to the Gospel: Every Christian is an anointed one.  That is what the name Christian means.  And every priest is anointed for the sake of the universal priesthood (baptismal priesthood) of the faithful.  But as we see well in the Gospel, the Christian life is not easy.  Jesus makes that abundantly clear for us today.  He gives all kinds of short phrases that hit like boulders, and flesh out exactly what we see between David and Saul: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
This sounds great.  But living it is a totally different story.  It can be brutal.
Give and it will be given to you.  How does that reconcile with lend without expecting repayment?

Here we see the challenge of the Christian life.  Not to be a doormat, but to break the cycle of vengeance.  Ultimately, it is an act of faith.  Faith that love is stronger than death.  Faith that God can heal deeper than any wound.  Faith that you are never alone.  Faith that God will make things right in the end.

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