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It’s That Simple!

In Sunday’s reading from the First Book of Kings 3:5, 7-12, God tells King Solomon: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “… I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act … Give your servant an understanding heart to judge people and

to distinguish right from wrong.” God was so pleased that Solomon asked for this instead of something for himself, God said: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.” It’s that simple!

When God created man and woman, He placed them in a beautiful world where they had everything good and true: beauty all around, health and happiness, the absence of sin, suffering and death, peace and joy in abundance, everything they needed for body and soul – they had Heaven on Earth. It was that simple! But they wanted more; they wanted to be like God. So they chose instead what they determined to be their right and thus brought sin and condemnation to our world.

An old Cherokee tale tells of a wise and understanding Chief who told his grandson about the battle of two wolves who live inside each of us. One is evil and the other is good. The grandson asked: “Which one wins?” “The one you feed,” answered the Chief. It’s that simple! We need to nurture the good.

Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew 13:44-52 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure buried in a field and to the pearl of great price. What wouldn’t we do to preserve it? What wouldn’t we do to live in the beauty, peace, goodness, kindness, health and happiness of those first people in the Kingdom of God on earth?

Jesus came to show us: He replaced all of the laws of Old Testament religion, the warnings of the prophets, even the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. He told us it’s all summed up in this: “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark: 12:30-31) It’s that simple!

Jesus never bought into the culture of his times. He exposed the brokenness of the systems and injustices around him both in society and in religion. He unmasked the false claims and self-aggrandizement of leaders and showed them a model of servant leadership. He walked with the disenfranchised of society and raised them to wholeness and dignity. He allowed himself to be crucified by those who claimed power over him by putting himself under their power, unmasking the violence, prejudice and injustice that dominated their rule. He showed them, and us, the simple power that comes when we walk among the victims of injustice and allow ourselves to be one of them. Could it really be that simple?

There’s a lot of talk today about individual rights, but many seem to forget that each of those rights comes with a corresponding responsibility to protect the rights of others. In the truly just Kingdom of God we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. We are responsible for the life, liberty and happiness of each other; Jesus taught us that! In the end, only love will last; so we will be judged on love. It really is that simple!

“God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”

Leonard Bernstein from a Mass for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

In Sunday’s reading from the First Book of Kings 3:5, 7-12, God tells King Solomon: “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” Solomon answered: “… I am a mere youth, not knowing at all how to act … Give your servant an understanding heart to judge people and

to distinguish right from wrong.” God was so pleased that Solomon asked for this instead of something for himself, God said: “I give you a heart so wise and understanding that there has never been anyone like you up to now, and after you there will come no one to equal you.” It’s that simple!

When God created man and woman, He placed them in a beautiful world where they had everything good and true: beauty all around, health and happiness, the absence of sin, suffering and death, peace and joy in abundance, everything they needed for body and soul – they had Heaven on Earth. It was that simple! But they wanted more; they wanted to be like God. So they chose instead what they determined to be their right and thus brought sin and condemnation to our world.

An old Cherokee tale tells of a wise and understanding Chief who told his grandson about the battle of two wolves who live inside each of us. One is evil and the other is good. The grandson asked: “Which one wins?” “The one you feed,” answered the Chief. It’s that simple! We need to nurture the good.

Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew 13:44-52 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a treasure buried in a field and to the pearl of great price. What wouldn’t we do to preserve it? What wouldn’t we do to live in the beauty, peace, goodness, kindness, health and happiness of those first people in the Kingdom of God on earth?

Jesus came to show us: He replaced all of the laws of Old Testament religion, the warnings of the prophets, even the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses. He told us it’s all summed up in this: “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark: 12:30-31) It’s that simple!

Jesus never bought into the culture of his times. He exposed the brokenness of the systems and injustices around him both in society and in religion. He unmasked the false claims and self-aggrandizement of leaders and showed them a model of servant leadership. He walked with the disenfranchised of society and raised them to wholeness and dignity. He allowed himself to be crucified by those who claimed power over him by putting himself under their power, unmasking the violence, prejudice and injustice that dominated their rule. He showed them, and us, the simple power that comes when we walk among the victims of injustice and allow ourselves to be one of them. Could it really be that simple?

There’s a lot of talk today about individual rights, but many seem to forget that each of those rights comes with a corresponding responsibility to protect the rights of others. In the truly just Kingdom of God we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper. We are responsible for the life, liberty and happiness of each other; Jesus taught us that! In the end, only love will last; so we will be judged on love. It really is that simple!

“God loves all simple things. For God is the simplest of all.”

Leonard Bernstein from a Mass for the inauguration of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington.

Sister Julianne McCauley