I notice license plates. Not long ago, I saw one on a truck that read, ‘PROPER-T’. I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself, thinking this driver is in touch with his mortality! Some people spend their lives scratching their way to success. Some, only to take two steps back. There are others who seemingly turn to gold everything they touch.
In today’s gospel, John the Baptist may have seemed like a kook to many people of his day. He wasn’t successful at accumulating riches of PROPER-T, yet he persevered in a way that attracted many who became his devoted disciples. If he was such a faithful man, why did he send his disciples to check out Jesus? Now ask yourself, how many good people do you know, in an hour of temptation, call in question the most important truths…we all desire to have our beliefs confirmed.
Jesus responds with the facts; MIRACLES ARE IN THE MOMENT. This should be good enough for you, no offense.
I just returned from a trip to Phoenix to celebrate Thanksgiving. I went there at the invitation of a family friend considered to be successful in many ways. This person’s genuineness convinced me that the trip would be a gift despite a recent introduction. Coming from the cold and the somewhat familiar landscape of Nebraska, I discovered Phoenix to be a warm haven of rest, soothing colors and intriguing plant life. I was given a whirlwind tour of the city and the surrounding mountains, from desert to pines in a matter of days. His friends and family welcomed me as if I were a weary traveler to the tent of Jacob surrounded by his biblical daughters. The reason being, that his friendship to them was a rare treasure.
I looked up the meaning of Phoenix; ‘a legend, a bird that can be reborn in its own ashes when it dies… a person or thing of unsurpassed excellence or beauty. ‘ In early Catholic art, it is a symbol of Christ representing his resurrection, immortality, and life-after-death. This city is home to mega-millionaires, some who count several houses. A house that is considered PROPER-T, a place that simply connects one dot to another... where people come to retire, either to celebrate a life well-earned or an opportunity to serve the wealthy. As my friend pointed out, wealth can become ‘stuff’ to fill in the space if you can’t be yourself. My friend’s wealth lies in his spirit of giving and not his PROPER-T. John the Baptist would be at home in his house.
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