One of my most recent past times has been to compare the lectionary readings from Ecclesia Gnostica and our own Revised Common Lecitonary. Sometimes they seem to compliment each other. Our own Gospel reading was the tale of the Prodigal Son. Like most of Jesus parables, it has been trodden many times and looked at from a bazillion different angles. What struck me in hearing it this time was how both of the main characters are flawed in some way. The Prodigal Son is portrayed as an irresponsible philanderer who asks for and squanders his inheritance, and the Elder Son works diligently for the Father and becomes jealous at the treatment of his younger brother upon the younger's return. In their own way, both suffer from the same sin. That of hubris. Each feels entitled to something, the younger to easy money, and the elder to a higher status because of his labors.
None of us is without fault. Paul says as much when he says, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God..." All of us, each person regardless of race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, is worthy of love without judgement. Each person carries a small part of Christ within us, that Divine Spark that links us to the Sacred Flame of the Divine. This is what Paul meant when he said that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is no longer slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."
In my own life, how do I reflect these qualities. Who am I unwilling to forgive or love because they do not seem to deserve that love? What is it that I feel is entitled to me because of my status? How is this reflected in the way I see others? How is it reflected in the way I see my fellow person? How is it reflected in my relation to the Divine? And finally, what do I need to do to open myself to change these things?
"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
- Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
- Where there is injury, pardon;
- Where there is doubt, faith;
- Where there is despair, hope;
- Where there is darkness, light;
- Where there is sadness, joy.
- O Divine Master,
- grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
- to be understood, as to understand;
- to be loved, as to love.
- For it is in giving that we receive.
- It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
- and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
- Amen." - Prayer attributed to St. Francis