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Monday, April 20, 2015

The God of Sweet Honey

"I took the small scroll from the angel’s hand and swallowed it. In my mouth it was like sweet honey, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour." Rev 10:10 as found Office of Readings

If you have been poor most of your life, as were the apostles of Jesus, the announcement in the Book of Revelation that neither wealth, nor health nor a large and successful family were signs of God's enduring love would taste like sweet honey. No longer would you have to strive to be like others, nor would you be always seeking to own something or someone. Rather, you would be anxious to eat this honey over and over again. Unfortunately, when you repeated this message, your stomach would turn sour. That is the clear message of the 10th chapter of Revelations to the early church. That which was at first sweet would become sour in the telling because you were challenging people to have different standards of success.

The same was true of St. Francis of Assisi. Francis tells the whole world that before God gave him the grace to kiss a leper, he was lost, but after kissing him (or her?) what before was bitter was turned into sweetness of body and soul. While this was true for Francis when he chose to live like and with lepers, his message was bitter for others, especially his own father, who wanted Francis to grow even richer than he himself was. When Francis rejected his father's wealth for a life of minority and poverty, he not only lost the love of his father, he threatened the feudal system into which he was born.

The gospel is always a threat and a bitter pill to swallow when it challenges us to reexamine how we live, and how we look at others. Unless we ask for the gift of seeing all creation with God's eyes, we miss the sweetness of the message. God loves all unconditionally, not just Jews and Christians, but all people. God even loves our enemies.

Today, ask God to let you taste the sweetness of his word, even in the telling.

Have you ever known anyone who changed their life and lifestyle completely in order to live the Gospel more completely?

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