The Hammock

Casablance Bergman Bogart

Blessed indeed will you be in their inability to repay you.  You will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. (Luke 14:14)

This statement, “Blessed will you be because of their inability to repay you” sounds crazy, at least in the business world.  But the Lord Jesus teaches us to see things from a different perspective.

In the Sermon on the Plain, the Lord had said, “If you love them that love you, what reward will you have?  Sinners love those who love them.  If you do good to them that do good to you, what reward will you have?  Sinners do as much.  If you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what reward will you have?  Sinners lend to sinners, and receive as much in return.

“But you, My disciples:  Love your enemies.  Do good. Lend.  Hope for no benefit thereby, and your reward will be great.  You shall be children of the Most High.  For He is kind to the ungrateful and to the evil…”

When God became a man and offered His life on the cross for the sake of the sinful human race that nailed Him there, that was no radical departure or change of character on His part.  That is Who He is—Who the Creator is, Who the Lord and Master of all things is.  He gives.

He never needed there to be a world or a universe.  He didn’t wake up one day, and think to Himself, ‘I am bored, and I am hungry, I just can’t take it anymore!’ and therefore He created Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, so that He could watch Casablanca, and then created peanuts and caramel, so that He could have a Snickers.

snickersNo.  The Lord God enjoys perpetual and perfect blessedness.  Always has and always will.  With or without Bogie.  But:  from His unimaginably wonderful state of perpetual and perfect blessedness, God generously gives.  He gives everything.  He gives existence.  He gives beauty.  He gives meaning and hope in life.

At every Sunday Mass we declare together, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”

In this pilgrim life, in the fallen world, we do things like ask for and keep receipts.  We get bills and invoices.  We have bank accounts.  Sometimes we have to pay lawyers.  None of us has unlimited material wherewithal.  We must exercise prudence, and we must deal justly with others, as we expect them to deal justly with us.  We have to think of our own well-being, and the well-being of those who depend on us.  We must make provisions for legitimate self-defense.

But none of this is absolute.  Sometimes people take out a loan on one set of provisional terms, then re-finance for a 30-year-mortgage.  But, actually, it’s all provisional.  Even 30-year-mortgages.  Because the world as we know it is passing away.

The one absolute thing is:  God.  Generous God.  Certainly, nothing about God is in any way unjust.  But to say that God is “just” does not really capture Who He is.

His way of measuring has to be our fundamental way of measuring. And His way of measuring is: not to measure at all.  He just gives.  The love of God is like a colossal hammock in which the whole cosmos and all of history rests.  The hammock holds it all, and it could hold a million universes and a million histories of the world if it had to, and still have a million more good things to give.

So He says:  Do not worry.  Can you make yourself any taller by worrying?  Can you grow more hair, by your own will?  No.  Your Father will take care of you.  Just love.  Now.  With everything you have.

Ever heard the sports expression, “to leave it all on the court?”  “At the Olympics, Carmelo Anthony left it all on the court.”  Or, “Gosh, that girl really left it all on that soccer field!”  In other words, she spent all her effort and all her skill trying to win the soccer game.

Well, God says:  Leave yourself, child, on the court of love.  Love the people who don’t like you. Love the people who drive in an annoying manner.  Love the rude and the ignorant.  Love the snide and the petty.

Love them all, because your heavenly Father loves them all.  If He didn’t love them, they wouldn’t exist.  We all exist only by His love.  And if He didn’t want us to love all the people in front of us, then He wouldn’t have made the world turn in such a way that they cross our path.  But He did make the world turn this way.  So we must love them.  Like a 14-year-old striker on the soccer team wills with all she has to score a goal, so must we love our neighbor.

Jesus gives our lives their true, eternal horizon.  The true horizon of our lives involves His divine kingdom—a divine kingdom in which the only bank is the infinite storehouse of God’s love.  And the only lawyer is the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, pleading everyone’s cause.  And a gun can do no harm nor good.  And no one needs health care.  No one ever gets sick.  Or lies.  Or does anything mean.  And the reward for every little act of love we have ever made will be God loving us back forever.

One thought on “The Hammock

  1. WOW! I am constantly amazed at what the MASTER has to say to me through your keyboard. Oh yes, I looked up ‘Feckless’ one of your favored self-descriptives. If so true, then the word above it applies to me.

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