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Father Amaro Saumell
St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church in Crestline, California.

Behold, I come quickly: hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.”  Revelation 3:11

"IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through Him, and without Him nothing came to be.” 

We say, ”Come Lord Jesus...but not too close!”  We say “Come Lord Jesus” just until things become inconvenient or we become afraid. We've done it in history and we've done it spiritually.  Humanity wanted a Messiah until the implications of participation were discovered.  It meant doing what we resist most, and that is “change.”

LET'S really look at it.  Here is a Man who came onto this foreign place called creation. He shared our own human flesh. He ate meals at the wrong time and in the wrong places and even on the wrong days.  He spoke in a way that few understood.  And when he found rejection, it wasn't because of Divine Laws. They were manmade laws that stood more important than God’s Law or His Presence.

I always think of the part of the mass when, as a presbyter, I have to say “Through the mingling of this water and wine, may we come to share in the Divinity of Christ, Who humbled Himself to share in our humanity.”  As we used to say when I lived in the South, “them’s powerful words!”   Now all humanity has been anointed.  Each person shares something with Christ in his or her own being... as a human being!

WE as Christians will fight to the finish when it comes to defending this reality, right?  We would never place manmade laws above God’s law, right?  We say that we see Jesus in the unborn, the poor, the imprisoned, right?  Yes, we look... but from a distance.  Again we find even ourselves saying, “Come Lord Jesus, but not too close.”

"ALL things came to be through Him...that means that every thing in creation was created for His glory.   And, there’s that word again, “glory.”   We use it all the time.  But how many people can explain its meaning?  Simply put, the word “glory” means “reputation”.  When we share in the Lord’s glory, we share in His reputation.  When we experience His glory, we experience what we have heard about Him through the Gospel.  So, for us to glorify God it means to share or spread His reputation. 

WE know this reputation through what we have witnessed in Jesus Who said “Be perfect as your Father is perfect.” What does this mean?  If we get close enough to Jesus, we can also hear Him say, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.   For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?  Do not the tax collectors do the same?  And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same?  So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."

WHAT is it exactly that is exemplified by the sun rising on the good and the bad?  Well, of course, it is God’s infinite love.  What we do with that love is another story.  Sadly we, as individuals, decide for ourselves who the good and the bad are. Good are the people we desire to have around us. Bad are the people we don't. But if we “love them” how do we put this love into action?

IT all boils down to what people often say, “I see Jesus in all people!”   I say, “Yeah, right!” Come Lord Jesus.  I see You in all except those who are like You.  I'm speaking of those who come into our lives and challenge us to be more like Your Father. Come Lord Jesus... but not too close.  I see You in all people.  I see You in the people that even our country calls “illegal.” Accepting them is like those who walked away when You said, “Unless you eat My Body and drink My Blood you shall not have life within you.” If it’s distasteful or inconvenient... or like the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Roman authorities, we can find a law, a man made law, that we can make into a god over You and we can ignore what You said.  Come Lord Jesus, but not that close. You are illegal because Your words go against our civil law. God forbid that we should only give a convenient donation from our checkbooks to a charitable organization rather than actually getting out hands dirty. 

WE mustn’t get too close, Lord Jesus. You have no money and if you hurt yourself, even on a cross, we're going to have to foot the hospital bill. You speak a language called “parables” which we don't understand. We don't want You changing our language. You can come, but again, You're getting too close.  But I promise, I will see You in other people.  In fact, I'll treat them the same way, ok?

ISN'T this ridiculous? I know I'm “preaching to the choir, right?”  I know that no true Christian would ever call God’s creation “illegal.”  For, by God’s “law,” all people are legitimate or legal. As a Catholic, I would never turn away a foreigner just because I didn't speak his language or understand his culture. That would be like turning Jesus away who spoke the parables that eventually had to be explained to us.  He spoke so that we could understand the language of life.  He was no real respecter of law. Oh yes, He said “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” but he was speaking about coinage, not human beings.

WE know our laws are not perfect.  We have no problem with going above the law to the supernatural law that says to “love your neighbor.”  It nowhere says, “Choose your neighbor before you love them.” And of course, no Catholic would say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Of course Cain said that after he made a decision to eliminate his brother. No Catholic would eliminate another human being, right?

"O GOD this is getting tedious. Your words are so hard to bear when they bring such inconvenience.”   How easy it is to do as the present day Pharisees and Sadducees as they said, ‘We have no King but U.S. Law’. Come Lord Jesus, but I'm busy right now.

IT reminds me of the other night when I spoke to a man in an Internet chat room who was asking about vocations.  He kept coming up with conditions.  God sets the sun on the good and the bad without condition.  And yet, choosing to do God’s will should have conditions?  It should follow my desires and convenience?  Come Lord Jesus.  Here I am.  Oh, here I am as long as it’s convenient.

OH how sad we all are when we imprison ourselves with our pride, desires, and convenience. How free we are when we know how to take the water of our baptism and mingle it in the substance that will become the most Precious Blood, the presence of Life. What freedom we find when we enter into His divine life and not choose among our neighbors, but love all regardless of human laws.

YES, Come Lord Jesus.  Come in the elderly with whom You share humanity.  Come in the stranger, the immigrant who seems so different as You did.  Come in the unborn, as You shared that life in the womb.  As You shared in our humanity, let me share in Your Divinity.  Let me trust in You.  Let me hope in You.   With the influences of the world around me, I need you desperately. 

HELP us to see You in all, not just some.  Help us to realize that all things came into being through You.  Come Lord Jesus.  Free me.  Come Lord Jesus.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:3

If you have High Speed Internet you can hear Father Amaro sing the original song that inspired the above article

"Come Lord Jesus"

Music and lyrics by Yvette Kovacs
(former parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Church)
Produced and arranged by Father Amaro Saumell

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