In regards to variations on a theme? I walk into Mass today, and what is the second reading, but the first letter from St. Paul to the Corinthians. I know you know the one that I mean...the one that is used in probably 75% of weddings... love is patient, love is kind..... OK, God, I hear you. Guess it doesn't hurt to keep restating the point, though. Sometimes we can be kind of dense.
I know this is something that needs work in my life, and I know that God is standing there, ready to work with me. If fact, probably ready to do most of the work if I will just let go of the things I'm holding on to and put forth a little effort myself.
The homily was a good one. The gospel was from Luke where Jesus is in his hometown proclaiming scripture in the synagogue. He is proclaiming that he is the Messiah, and before the conversation is done, they are ready to throw him (Truth) off of a cliff! Things seem to happen so fast in scriptures - like you can go from life to death in two sentences.
Anyway it seems that Jesus came to speak truth to them. That's what a prophet is - someone who is appointed by God to speak God to His people. And we share in this by virtue of our baptism. Anyway, the truth is not designed to make people feel good or to stroke their egos. Sometimes the truth hurts when it doesn't line up with our way of seeing things.
The truth challenges us to change and to conform ourselves more closely to the will of God. And the will of God is that we become more like Him. And how do we do that? St. Paul tells us: by being patient, kind, not jealous, not pompous, not inflated, not rude, not seeking our own interests, not quick-tempered, not brooding over injury, rejoicing with the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and enduring all things. And when I compare myself to that standard.... well....there's enough to keep me busy!
Christ came to challenge those who are comfortable, but also to comfort those who are hurting. I'm feeling kind of challenged right now.
How we respond to the Lord and what he wants of us determines whether we will be a "mouthpiece" for the Lord, living God with our lives, or a clanging gong or crashing cymbal. So says the good Monsignor.