Daily Reflection
July 19th, 2007

Brian Kokensparger

Arts & Science College
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Quite a few years ago, I took a class called “Theology of the Imagination” from a great Jesuit by the name of Justin Kelly. It was a great course; we kept a journal of the ways that God revealed Him/Herself to us through the exercising of our imaginations. Perhaps the greatest lesson I learned was that anything and everything could be a vehicle of revelation, if you open yourself to it. (Of course, this is where a guided process of discernment needs to be applied to keep one from going astray, as any good Jesuit will tell you.)

In today’s readings we are offered a glimpse into a few revelatory paths. In the Old Testament reading, we hear the LORD speak to Moses through the burning bush, instructing Moses to speak to the people about what he learned there; we also get a hint of what is to come for the Egyptians by way of “wondrous deeds.” In the Gospel, Jesus uses the symbolism of a beast of burden – presumably an ox. All of these – the burning bush, Moses, the “wondrous deeds,” Jesus, and the symbolism of the ox – all can be considered vehicles for revelation. In the case of the Gospel, the imagery surrounding the ox (labor, burden, yoke) was chosen specifically by Jesus to connect directly with the experiences of His listeners.

Now I don’t know about you, but here in the United States I don’t get much of a chance to experience oxen in full yoke bearing their burdens. Some of our daily reflection readers in other countries may have had this experience, and I must admit I envy them a bit, because they are a little more likely to “get” Jesus’ intent in this Gospel passage. For the rest of us, I cannot help but think that Jesus, if He were here among us, would choose a different metaphor to get His idea across.

As a computer support coordinator, the bulk of my work focuses upon supporting the effective interaction between people and computers here at Creighton University. At the risk of being accused of “rewriting” the Gospel (which I certainly do not intend to do), I wondered what metaphor Jesus might choose for me if He and I were together today. Instead of “For my yoke is easy, and my burden light,” He might say, “For my computer is virus-free and my network speedy.” To most readers, this might initially sound bizarre, but I invite us all to think about it: To me, a virus-free and speedy computer is something to get excited about, something to look forward to. And isn’t that Jesus’ point? That life with Him is something to get excited about, something to look forward to?

The key, of course, is for us to draw from the excitement of our own experiences – and then to realize that life with Jesus is so much more exciting and inviting than anything we can possibly imagine, through this or any other exercise.

So today, in honor of Fr. Kelly and in honor of our own imaginations, I’d like to challenge all of us to use our imaginations to consider how Jesus might personally speak to us in the framework of our own lives, in terms we can fully understand. Among us educators, for example, perhaps He would say, “For my discussion session is exhilarating and my students engaged.” No matter what our occupation – firefighter, stay-at-home dad or mom, food service worker – surely there is a metaphor that we can discover within our imaginations that might connect us a little more readily to the excitement and exhilaration that Jesus has in store for us.

Whatever wonderful metaphors we may discover, suffice it to say that they only begin to reveal how much more wonderful a life with a personal experience of the presence of Jesus must be!

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