Sometimes life teaches you or reminds you about stuff you already knew when you least expect it.
Today we were supposed to go to 12pm Mass at a nearby church.
Turns out 12pm Mass is no longer part of the Sunday schedule.
We decided to make this Sunday a little adventurous and head out to the Spanish Mass at 12:30pm at a church that overlooks the base of the Catalina mountains.
Elliana was wide eyed going in, and I was searching my brain for the correct Spanish greetings I had learned in high school and college if the need arose for me to speak to anyone there.
Thankfully, one of the patrons handed us the Spanish/English translation of the days readings, so at least I could show Elliana and Lisa where we were.
Until the homily.
I expected to calmly take in the stunning view of the mountains behind the priest while he spoke in words I wasn’t likely to understand.
I was pleasantly surprised that I understood the heart of what he was saying.
The reading was about Jesus going through a town where he was not greeted with the kind of reception that his followers expected.
As they were leaving, one of the group said something to the effect that they should pray for ‘fire from the sky’ to pour down on the less than welcoming people.
Jesus got angry, with them, telling them it was better to love them, than to pray for fire from the sky.
The priest brought up modern day examples of choosing love over fire from the sky.
He described Nelson Mandela’s 26 year prison ordeal while he peacefully worked towards an end to division in South Africa that had been created by apartheid.
Mandela achieved his success advocating for a change of heart that did not require hatred, anger, or vengeance. Just love for a healing and a mutual respect between the people who lived there.
Gandhi came up next.
Again, his peaceful approach to making India a better place for the people achieved remarkable results.
Then the priest turned to us.
Is it possible for us to live in that place of love, rather than wanting to bring down that fire from the sky on the things or people that threaten our peace?
If Mandela could do it, if Gandhi could do it, if Jesus gave that as the final commandment, couldn’t we do it too?
It got me think about how I approach many of the daily battles in my life.
My skirmishes seem pretty insignificant in the context of what Mandela, Gandhi and Jesus faced, which makes me feel kind of bad for those “God rain some fire down” feelings I often direct toward the people who are treating me unfairly, or rudely, insensitively, or unlovingly.
Reading the news, watching TV or movies, listening to the radio there’s a lot of ‘fire from the sky’ stuff that we hear on a daily basis.
I guess the problem with fire raining down from the sky is that it only tends to ignite more fires when it hits the ground.
Love doesn’t do that.
It has always amazed me that the new testament only contains one new commandment.
Love each other they way I have loved you.
Such an incredibly simple message.
But looking at the world we live in, very hard to live by.
I’m gonna give it a try this week.
Try a little love when those fire from the sky thoughts fill my head during the week.
It certainly can’t hurt.
Lord knows this week it’s already hot enough without any flames coming down from the heavens.
Have a blessed Sunday.