Ruthless Trust

Reading 1 / Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!  Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet to another who has not labored over it, he must leave property.  This also is vanity and a great misfortune. For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?  All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest.  This also is vanity.

  • The word translated “vanity” (which occurs thirty-seven times in this book, and only thirty-three times in all the rest of the Old Testament) in its primary meaning denotes breath or vapor.  It is something that appears and vanishes quickly.  Some might say that this Passage is more about “why should we care if it all comes to nothing?” than “why worry about things that will pass quickly?”  If you’re like me, you sometimes can’t fall asleep, because you’re thinking about things from the day that is fading and the day that is coming soon.  “Even at night, my mind is not at rest”.  But, why worry about things that we have no control over?  We are meant to do our part in honoring God.  This includes both loving God with all of our mind, body, and Souls, as well as loving others the way that we love God.  The Serenity Prayer, authored by the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in 1934, is a sober reminder of our call to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”  And, that “Today has enough trouble of its own.”  (Matthew 6:34)  There’s a great scene in “The Soprano’s” where Paulie is pulled over by a local cop.  While his reply to the cop’s complaining is “colorful”, it drives home the point above.  We’ve all got problems.  We all get stressed.  We’re all just trying to get Home.  Brennan Manning, a best-selling Christian author, wrote a book called, “Ruthless Trust“, where he delicately undresses our worldly Faith, so that he can get us back focused on the core of our Spiritual Faith – God’s love for us and our love for Him.  I highly recommend it to any of our Knightly Saints, as well as any Knightly Princesses.  Why aren’t we trusting God more and worrying less?  How can we help ourselves and others to have “Ruthless Trust”?

Responsorial Psalm / Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

R. (1) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust, saying, “Return, O children of men.”  For a thousand years in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.  R.
You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, Which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.  R.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.  Return, O LORD! How long?  Have pity on your servants!  R.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.  And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us!  Prosper the work of our hands!  R.

  • As Men, we take a lot of pride in never getting lost.  In fact, many of us will even refuse to ask for directions even when we are lost.  Now, with the invention of GPS devices and smart phones, the numbers of prideful, lost Souls seems to be growing at an exasperating rate.  But, the results of being lost can be catastrophic – both while using our GPS’s and in our Spiritual Lives.  The devil uses chaos and mayhem to get us lost and confused like in this famous Allstate ad.  The Psalm this week continues on the 1st Reading from Ecclesiastes – don’t look over your shoulder and have so much self pity over things that will pass in the night.  This world is extremely temporary and Heaven and God’s love are forever.  Jesus drives this point home in Luke 17:32-33 when He tells His Disciples, “Remember Lot’s wife!  Whoever tries to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will preserve it.”  By waking each day in God’s love, and really focusing truly on Him and trusting blindly, we are brought to new depths in our Faith journey.  How do we get lost in Him?  How can better Listen, Trust, and Obey as Knightly Saints in Christ?

Reading 2 / Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11

Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.  Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.  Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.  Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

  • Focus.  Sometimes I think I am a candidate for an adult ADD study.  I can’t seem to focus on anything – big or small – at times.  I get caught-up in the moment or the situation and don’t take a Godly view of my circumstances.  In other words, the 30,000 foot view.  Sometimes, we’re just too close to a situation to see God in it.  This was made very clear in the movie, “Soul Surfer”, when Carrie Underwood (playing a Youth Minister) made this point with her Group on Rad night.  She goes on to quote Jeremiah 29:11, “‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'”  So, how then do we kill the old self and battle the ways of this world with the devil.  Prayer.  Put everything before God and “trust” that the Creator of the universe will take care of it (and you).  Watch the final few minutes of the movie, “War Room“.  The passion in this prayer truly inspires; please give it a chance – I promise it won’t disappoint.  Open your heart and Soul to Him.  Pray with passion.  Fight the good fight!  How can we learn to pray with the Passion of an Apostle?  A Disciple?  Jesus Christ Himself?

Alleluia / Matthew 5:3

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

  • What does it mean to be poor in spirit.  The devil would tell you that it means that you should cower and be a sobbing puddle of mush.  Evil will always try to manipulate us into thinking the worst.  So, what did Jesus mean?  The Reverend Billy Graham said it means simply this: We must be humble in our spirits.  If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.  Humility – a fruit of the Spirit.  We must seek to kill the things that are not of Him by humbling ourselves before the Lord.  We don’t deserve Grace, but it has been bestowed upon us by the Blood of Christ.  To be poor in Spirit is to focus on the fruits of the Spirit….”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no Law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)  The Reverend Billy Graham spoke a lot about “Happiness” that only God can bring to us all by our Choice.  Can you now feel the momentum of this week’s Mass?  Do you see how the Readings are building upon one another?

Gospel / Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance  with me.”  He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”  Then he told them a parable.  “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.  He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’  And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.  There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’  But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

  • When is it ever enough?  If we have one Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia pint, we might as well have two.  I admit it.  That ice cream is just plain addictive to me.  The same thing with a Coke.  One glass quickly becomes two or three or more.  There is a divergence that some have found between give and take.  You may have heard that God will never give you more than you can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13).  But, the real measure of enough is seen in Luke (6:38) when we learn to give.  “Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  We cannot take until we learn to give.  We cannot receive love if we do not give love.  This is very humbling.  So, God is telling us to lay down our own lives in order o receive our New Life in Him.  We must, as Chris Tomlin says in his song, we must raise our “White Flag” to the world and let go (lyrics below).  That’s the “Ruthless Trust” that Brennan Manning is talking about in his book.  It’s what God asks of us.  It’s our choice.  You can decide today that you’ve had enough and give your heart to God.  Your reward is Eternal Life.  How can we lay down our lives to Christ?  Why are we not working together as an army of Knightly Saints to help each other more?

 

White Flag (Chris Tomlin)

The battle rages on
As storm and tempest roar
We cannot win this fight
Inside our rebel hearts
We’re laying down our weapons now

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

Here on this Holy ground
You made a way for peace
Laying your body down
You took our rightful place
This freedom song is marching on

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

Your love has won

We lift the cross
Lift it high lift it high [x8]

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

We raise our white flag
We surrender
All to You
All for You

We raise our white flag
The war is over
Love has come
Your love has won

We lift the cross
Lift it high lift it high [x4]

Reflection of the Week

Let us all focus on Trust.  Please watch and listen to Lauren Daigle sing her song “Trust in You“.  When you don’t give the answers as I call out to you, I will trust in you…….LD

 

Published by Gregg McDonald

Gregg McDonald is a Founding Member of Men As Christ (MAC); an int'l Christian Faith Group that shares the Word of God with ~30,000 people around the world in 114 countries. He is all about Faith, Family, and Love and enjoys the opportunity to share God's love with everyone.

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