Saturday, April 6, 2019

where are you stuck?

Homily
5th Sunday of Lent C
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas
7 April 2019
AMDG +JMJ +m

How many of you came here today to be humiliated?  Probably no one.

But it's how we started Lent, some 40 days ago.  By having 'humus' - dirt - thrown on our foreheads, followed by the dual insult of being called a sinner who is going to die.  Fun stuff.  Yet you showed up in droves on Ash Wednesday to be humiliated.  Why?

It's because I don't want to be stuck.  None of us do.  We are made to change, and to grow, not to get stuck.  Not to settle or quit.  We are made to live, not to die.  As we learn again today, humiliation is the path.  It's not fun, but it works.

Can you remember the time when your greatest sin was exposed?  The time when the weakness you wanted to keep hidden was revealed?  The time when your deepest secret became known?  I bet you thought you were going to die. 

But you didn't die.  You changed.  You grew from that experience.  It was a pivotal moment in your story.

Last week the prodigal son was at rock bottom.  Humiliated.  Proven to be a fool and no longer worthy to be called a son.  Where did he end up?  In the embrace of his Father.

This week is 100x worth.  A woman is caught in the very act of the most despised crime - adultery.  A sin that causes so much damage to love and family and communion that the law commanded that it be eradicated through stoning.  Presumably she was drug out naked before everyone in the temple.  She is the worst of the worst.  Humiliated beyond imaging. 

Where does she end up?  Face to face with mercy incarnate.  One one one with Jesus. 

When we're humiliated we feel like we're going to die.  But it's at that place where Jesus does something new, and we get 'unstuck', and begin to truly live.

Why don't we follow the spiritual principle of counting ourselves as the greatest sinner?  What but good can come from this?  Now I'm not asking you to become scrupulous or enter into self-hatred.  That's pride masked as false humility, and it will backfire.  I'm just asking you to be a disciple of Jesus, who counted himself as the greatest sinner.

When the adulterous woman is brought before Him, he refused to look down on her.  He bends close to the 'humus' - the earth, and looks down.  He humiliates himself, and writes on the ground, perhaps in desperate search of a humble heart on which he can write His law of mercy.

How can we receive this Gospel and look down on anyone ever, and call ourselves a disciple of Jesus.  I don't think there's a way we can.

When we count ourselves as the greatest sinner, we get a one-on-one with Jesus, who as Savior and the one who came to forgive sins, always leaves the 99 and searches for the most contrite heart.  Is he searching for your heart. There is nothing more pleasing to Jesus than a humble and contrite heart, on which he can write His law of mercy.

So I hope you came here today to be humiliated.  I hope I did to.  I don't actually wish that we all get caught cheating, and fornicating and masturbating, but it's better than being stuck.  Humiliation is better than allowing our sins and secrets to kill us.  Humiliation hurts, but it is where new life begins.

At the very least you're invited to confession, into the circumstance of the adulterous woman.  Exposed as the greatest sinner, she ends up one on one with mercy incarnate, who only looks up at her, and tells her that He does not condemn her.

Do you still doubt that humiliation leads to new life?  Is there anything that changes us more than confession?

I dare say that we are stuck when we hide and look down on each other.  The scribes and the Pharisees bailed when they had a chance to be honest and show mercy.  How about you?

Where are we free?  It's where we are most honest and vulnerable.  It's where we are most humble - in our humiliation.  It's where we started Lent.  More importantly, it's where we need to end up.


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

mercy is intimacy

Homily
Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Lent
St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas
26 March 2019

Jesus always loves us where we need it most but deserve it least.  It's the most beautiful thing in the world.  That we are loved over and over and over, with God never losing patience, never giving up on us, never tiring of forgiving.  Here is what is perhaps my favorite line of Pope Francis' pontificate so far - Jesus doesn't tire of forgiving.  Jesus' mercy is the most beautiful thing in the world.  But so what, unless it is also for us the most real thing.

What is more, Jesus forgives us from his heart.  His forgiveness is the total gift of himself.  It is not a superficial tolerance . . .don't worry about it . it's no big deal . . . while at the same time plotting not to allow himself to be betrayed or hurt by us again.  No, his forgiveness always costs him everything.  He bleeds for us.

So we are forgiven where we need it most but deserve it least, and from the heart?  What is our response to this mercy, if we know it to be real?  Jesus says the litmus test is our forgiveness of others. Have we ever for given anyone the way that Jesus forgives us, let alone 70x7 times?  I'm not sure I ever have.

Tolerance is easier.  Don't worry about it. Do your thing.  But give me space to do my thing.

Tolerance is distance.  Mercy is intimacy.  Mercy lies at the very heart of God.  If we dare mercy, we are at the heart of all reality  Do we run away or draw near to those who need our forgiveness?  And when we confess, do we grab our get out of jail free card and run back to who we were before, or do we give his mercy permission to enter a new place in our heart, those places of presumption, complacency, stubbornness and despair?


Saturday, March 23, 2019

what word describes you?

Homily
3rd Sunday of Lent C
St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas
24 March 2019
AMDG +JMJ +m

My mom died when she was 49 years old.  I just turned 45 this last week.  If I live as long as my mom, I've only got 4 years left to live.  That's kinda scary.  On the other hand, if I live as long as my grandpa Jake, I'm not even halfway home.  He turned 101 in January and is still kicking strong.  He has no idea why he is alive.  He should have died with his entire company on Okinawa during World War II.  Instead he was shot in the hip and got out.  If he hadn't gotten out you'd be listening to a better homily.  .

Life is worth living, but it's hardly fair.  My mom caught a bad break with cancer.  As a priest I've buried lots of people who caught worse breaks, and were younger than her.  Life can be hard.  On the other hand, my grandpa couldn't die if he tried.  Jesus calls out life as it really is in today's Gospel.  Life is worth living.  But it's not fair.  It's good, but beyond our control or understanding.  Real life is a crazy mix of urgency, vulnerability and mercy.  Is there any way to tell why my mom got 49 years and my grandpa 101 and counting?  Jesus says no. There's no way to tell. The news that Jesus is commenting on - towers falling on the innocent and religious persecutions, may just as well have been the plane crashes or terrorist attacks that happened just this last week.  Nothing much has changed.  All we know is that we have today, and that today matters, and that today is the day for us to bear fruit with our lives.

What word describes you today?  What word do you want to describe you tomorrow?  On my mom's tombstone are the names of her husband and kids.  My favorite word on my mom's tombstone is Mitchel.  The names of her family are my mom's final words.  What word describes your life?  On my mom's tombstone as well is the image of a fisherman.  She loved to fish, and I'm hoping she's catching some whoppers in heaven.  What image would go on your tombstone?

Do you even know what image and words will go on your KU diploma?  I hope you do.  Your diploma won't be the final word of your life, but I hope it's an important word, one you're working hard for and one you're proud of.  I for one am proud of my KU degree.  But at any rate, the seal of your nurturing mother, your alma mater, the University of Kansas, is the scene from today's first reading from Exodus - Moses and the burning bush.  Videbo visionem hanc magnam quare non comburatur rubus.  (Sorry if I butchered that . . just be glad I'm not saying Mass in Latin.).  I will see this great vision of the bush that does not burn.  That's right.  On your diploma will not be the Jayhawk or the Campanile or Allen Fieldhouse.  It's a word and an image from revelation.  A theological and supernatural scene.  Your Rock Chalk diploma will have a scene from the second book of the Bible.

Does this surprise you? Theology is not an official science at KU.  Smith Hall and its statue of Moses and stained glass window of the burning bush is not a prominent building.  In fact, KU is officially secular, and describes its own seal not as God visiting his creation and revealing Himself as I AM WHO AM - with all of this phrase's concomitant philosophical depth.  No, KU describes the seal pretty tamely, as a student's undying thirst for knowledge.  KU, despite the seal, has no official theological stance on whether creation becomes more alive, more fruitful, more on fire, when it is visited by God.  In fact, most people assume the opposite, that KU is a is a hill unlike Mt. Horeb, where God does not visit his people.  For example, last week we asked what makes it hard to believe in God here at KU.  We got plenty of responses on our chalkboard - the most prominent of which were questions about God posed by evil and science.  .

Today's scriptures tackle both objections to believing in God.  Jesus answers the question of evil in the Gospel.  Although life is far from fair, and the reality of the moral and natural evil that God allows makes life vulnerable, the truth is that life is good and worth living. The truth of today's parable is that God visits his creation most often not by allowing evil but with his mercy, and he prefers to give the forgiveness and time we need to write a fruitful story with our lives.  Not all of us, but most of us, will get one more year to bear fruit.

The scene from Genesis tackles the question of science. The scene shows God and creation not in conflict, but in harmony.  The bush is on fire but not consumed.  So when God visits his creation, He does so in a non-competitive way.  God comes not to be measured by science, nor to reject the science of creation, but to elevate his creation.  The bush and the fire prefigure Pentecost, the end of our Easter journey, when the fearful apostles were elevated not destroyed by the ultimate fire of the Holy Spirit, and sent to go beyond their former limitations.

So your KU diploma will speak of this greater mystery that is accessed through a unified search for truth, and the integration of your faith with your reason.  I invite you into this full adventure of faith, then, and into your supernatural destiny that ironically is written if not on the cover, then at the heart of your KU education.  St. Lawrence exists to help guide this story that you are writing with your life, and the word that you alone will speak into the story of the world.

So finally, what is this word?  Our pivotal question this week is this - what word describes you?  I haven't made a complete wreck with my life, I hope you will agree, but I'm afraid that the word that best describes me is coward.  I'm scared of what it means to be on fire, and to allow God to call me beyond my control and limitations.  Yet I'm hopeful that 'coward' is not the final word I will write with my life.  I may not live as long as my grandpa Jake, but I'm grateful that I get one more year to write a new word.

What word describes you today?  If you are given another year to grow and bear fruit, and to be visited by the fire of the Holy Spirit, what word will describe you tomorrow?




Sunday, March 17, 2019

what makes it hard to believe in God?

Homily
2nd Sunday of Lent C
St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas
17 March 2019

What makes it hard to believe in God?

Who said it was supposed to be easy?  Who wants it to be easy?  Trust is hard. Relationships are hard.  Yet the more they draw us out of ourselves, the better

I think it's way more fun, and life-giving, to try to do something hard.  Belief in God is worth fighting for.  Shame on us if we want a cheap or easy faith.

The Transfiguration Gospel awakens us to our full destiny.  What does it mean for us to become fully alive in Christ?  How is this different than the life I am living now?  Am I daring the greatest life that is in God's heart for me?  Have I settled or quit because it's hard to climb mountains.  It's hard to live vertically.

Do we truly hate it when our life gets tame, conservative or boring?  I know that we can get worn out, and without enough support in our lives we can get discouraged, and just want things to get easier.  Yet the peace that God offers to us is not a peace of complacency, but the peace of knowing that I am becoming more alive, that my capacity for living a heroic story is growing.  This is what a life of faith is supposed to be - not an insurance plan but a path to becoming more like God, and being transfigured as our nature is elevated by grace.  If our faith does not end in our daring greatness, than to hell with it.

If our Lent is only about us feeling guilty or about behavior modification to temper our desires, then to heck with Lent too.  Lent is about deepening desires and awaking us to our full destiny.  It is about increased capacity for living.

So belief in God is hard, because the fullness for which we are made it not cheap and easy, and not something we can control.  But so what - aren't we here because we want to dare greatness.  Belief in God is hard, but let's do it anyway.

Some people say there is no evidence for God - that I can't believe in what I can't see or feel.  Yet this is the opposite of belief.  We don't believe in things we can measure or control.  Tell me a relationship that flourishes under judgment and control instead of trust and vulnerability. 

In the end nothing substitutes for the gift of faith.  If you say you will only believe in God if you don't need faith to believe, then you are saying something self-contradictory.  Again, there is no relationship where there is measurement or control.  Real relationships take faith.

Which is why the life of faith is a dive deeper into reality.  Blessed are those, Jesus says, who have not seen but have believed.  The signs that we are given are not proofs of God's existence, they are invitations into the life of faith.  The fantastic signs we see in today's scriptures do not compel faith, they invite faith.  Now I get that the signs experienced by Abram, Peter, James and John are pretty fantastic.  They are different than the signs we receive.  But the effect of the signs is the same - they invite faith but do not compel faith.

So are the signs in your life.  And yes, there are many signs in your life. Signs just as real as the signs received by Abram, Peter, James and John.  These signs are an invitation deeper into reality.  If the life of faith to which you are invited is a divorce from reality, then to hell with it.  What makes belief in God hard is that we are afraid of this deeper reality. We want a life and a God that we can judge and control.  Belief in God is hard because of our lack of faith.

Yet anyone who is not afraid of reality will ask for the gift of faith.  For what is most real is that we are made in the image of God, and we are invited to become fully awake, fully alive, and fully like Him by fearlessly entering into a covenant with Him and allowing our nature to be elevated and enlightened by his grace.

That's not fake.  It's the most real thing.  It's also the hardest thing because of our lack of faith.

But let's not be afraid of doing something hard.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

where do you need more honesty?

Homily
Ash Wednesday
5 March 2019
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

Free dirt.  Free insults.

That's the Catholic marketing strategy for today.  And you fell for it. Lucky you.  Welcome to Ash Wednesday Mass, everybody - we're glad you're here!

Our other Catholic marketing strategies stink. We've tried to be the friendliest Church, but you seem to prefer Mass street to our Mass. We serve lots of free food, and the needle moves a little.  You do get hungry.  We even serve free beer.  We're Catholics and you're college students - you can't blame us for trying what we know.  Yet you think of the Bermuda triangle first.  The Catholic Church is actually the world's best marketer of guilt!  We have the most intimidating and offensive behavior code available.  You better not eat meat today . . or have sex out of marriage . . or else!  Yet you seem to be able to feel badly about yourself on your own.  You don't need Catholicism for this.

You probably do actually need more money and more free parking.  You seem to be very broke and some of you have so many fines you will never see a KU diploma.  But I'm sorry - we're out of parking too, and out of money so we can't help.

What we can offer uniquely today is free dirt and free insults.  You are very welcome. Thanks for coming.

I really have no idea why you are here.  I wish I did, but I don't.  It's awesome to be together, and I'm glad you're here, but you're not obligated to be here.

I do know why I am here.  I am here to get more honesty.  There is a strange freedom in having a stranger throw dirt on your forehead and tell you you're going to die.  There's a truthful irony that we allow a Church that is riddled with scandal and hypocrisy insult us and tell us we're not that great.

The honesty is that it doesn't really matter who's perfect and who's not.  What matters is that we all struggle.  We admit that together on Ash Wednesday.  What matters is who is still in the game - who hasn't settled or quit - who is still trying. What matters is that we're all in this together, and we have the gift of each other - and that's a good thing. 

Jesus in today's powerful Gospel calls out the world of appearances that we are all trapped in.  He knows that we put a label, a timer and a price tag on the outside of everyone, and the same is done to us.  But little of it is honest - those labels, price tags and timers are fake.  He speaks to our need to live inside out, not outside in, and invites his disciples into this sacred honesty.

You see coming forward for free dirt and free insults is a more honest thing than the labels, price tags and timers we put on each other.  The ashes invite us to live not in the tyranny of instant gratification, but starting with how we want our lives to end.  The insult gets us in touch with how we deeply we want to be humble and real, with how we want and need to change and get better. 

Lent invites us into honest conversation with God and each other. Conversation that dares to ask honest questions that don't have quick and easy answers.  Who am I really?  Who loves me really?  Does my story really matter?  What makes life worth living?  Is there anything really stronger than death, or are we just pretending?

Free dirt and insults actually works because the honesty they represent invites us beyond the fake and into the real.  With honesty comes freedom, the freedom to really change and the freedom to live a really great life.  And let's face it, that's even better than free parking.  So I dare you to answer a question that is not free, but one that will cost you - where do you need more honesty in your life?

The Good News is that the honesty of Ash Wednesday doesn't just have to be a day.  It can be a way of life.  It's what I dream that our Catholic Church may one day be - the place of greatest honesty.  A place where labels, price tags and timers give way to inside-out conversations that bring reasons to hope. 

The Catholic Church needs you to help us build this kind of community - one that is trustworthy.  Can we build a family where free dirt and free insults are more than a once-a-year gimmick, but where we really and everyday dare the question - where do I need more honesty?








Sunday, March 3, 2019

who has influence in your life?

Homily
3 March 2019
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas

I'm a fake. That's the most honest thing that I can tell you.

Now don't get too worried.  I am a validly ordained priest.  You are at a real Mass, not a fake Mass.  And don't worry either that I'm about to reveal something scandalous.

But unless we go deeper in honesty, there is no reason for us to be here today.  So I'm a fake, and that's the most honest thing I can tell you.

I'm a fake because I'm an extremely proud person.  Proud people are experts at pretending to be better than they are.  They are out of touch with reality.  Humility is staying close to the earth, to what's real.  Pride is fantasy. 

I'm not proud of being the proudest person in the room, but it's probably the only thing I'm not proud of.  Pride dominates my life.  Even though on the outside I may look like a disciple of Jesus, who says those who exalt themselves will be humbled.  In reality, I love exalting myself.

This weekend during our Koinonia paschal mystery retreat, I prayed to be set free from my pride.  But I didn't pray hard enough.  It's still intact.  I can tell.  I have held on tightly to my pride for as long as I can remember, certainly longer than the 12 years of suffering endured by the hemorrhaging woman in the Gospel that we read together on retreat.  This woman had tried everything and spent all she had, but only grew worse.  Yet she was healed by her act of faith when she touched Jesus' garment as he passed by.

During the retreat I invited the retreatants to touch the hem of my garments as I processed through the crowd with the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Yet I knew that I myself didn't want to be healed of pride.  I was a fake.

I've had some great spiritual guides and friends ask me what I'm afraid of.  Do I think that God or others would stop loving me if they saw the real me?  I don't know the answer.  I'm not sure what I'm afraid of.  What I know is that my pride is mine and what I can control.  Like a true addict, even though I know it's destroying me, I won't stop.

The results are predictable.  Firstly, I'm over-competitive. I only preach about sports, in case you haven't noticed.  Sports glorify God when they foster trust, sacrifice and humility, but are idols when they enable pride.  I'm obsessed with being the greatest of all time.  It is part of my motivation to be a priest.  Yet when you want to exalt yourself everyone who wants to be my friend is ultimately my enemy.  I have to beat everyone at something, with the goal of separating myself and ending up alone. But it is not good for man to be alone.

Secondly, I remain annoyed at the very things in others that most remain unresolved in my relationship with God.  Jesus nails me with the splinter and beam analogy.  This describes my mind perfectly.  If I'm annoyed at someone's lack of dedication, it's because I'm cutting corners with God myself.  If I'm put off by someone's dishonesty, it's because I'm hiding from God. The list can and does go on and on and on.

Lastly, and most importantly, a proud person doesn't trust a guide.  I might fake following Jesus or another guide, but in the end I retain control.  The Gospel and all wisdom, however, teaches that only a fool is his own guide.  To be wise we must trust a guide, as hard as it is to trust.  Jesus confirms that if we want to bear good fruit, we must disciple ourselves in radical honesty to a master who has the virtue that we lack.

Last week's pivotal question was - what do you need to let go of?  If I want to start wanting to let go of my pride, I need a guide.  Not one that I can hide from, and not one who lets me stay stuck where I am.  Which leads us to this week's pivotal question - who has influence in your life?

I can't think of two better questions to help us start Lent honestly this Wednesday.  What do you need to let go of?  Who has influence in your life?


Sunday, February 24, 2019

what do you need to let go of?

Homily
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
24 February 2019
St. Lawrence Catholic Center at the University of Kansas

I am the enemy.  You are the enemy.  We are the enemy.

We have to start here.  Before we begin a conversation about loving our enemies, which we will indeed have in a moment, we have to acknowledge that we are the enemy.  We have sinned against God, whom we should love above all things.  He has forgiven us.  God shows his mercy in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  There can be no question that before Jesus dares to ask us to love our enemies, he has first loved us in this way.  Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.  Talk about a guy that walks the walk.

Each week I try to dare you and myself to be real Christians.  I hate lukewarm Catholicism.  It is so worthless.  I hate it in myself.  So I try to preach to myself and then to you each week, daring us together to be real Christians.

This week the dividing line between real and fake Christians is love of enemies.  The commandment is repeated twice by Jesus.  Jesus asks us to imitate him by giving and forgiving without counting the cost.  Without expecting anything back.  This is the brand promise that we strive for here at St. Lawrence.  There is never a hidden agenda.  We try to give because that is who we are.  We forgive because that is who Jesus is.  What happens next is up to God, and we happily place judgement in his hands.

Believe it or not - but I hope you believe it - the Catholic Church is not here at KU to control your behavior and make you perfect little Catholics, so we can tell everyone how great we are in getting you to go to Church, when nobody expects you to come.  Gee whiz that would be a pathetic goal.  No we are here to give and to forgive, without a hidden agenda, without counting the cost, so that everyone here is known and seen and loved.  We are here to invite you to the freedom and fullness of following Jesus.  That's it. That's our brand promise. Call us out if we don't live up to it.

What does this freedom and fullness look like?  Here's a stab at it.  Listen to Jesus.  'Nobody takes my life from me.  I freely give it.  Can you repeat these words of Jesus honestly in your own life?  'Nobody takes my life from me. I freely give it.'  If you can drink this cup that Christ drinks, I dare say that like Him you are truly free.  I dare say that you are a real Christian.  I dare say that you get in your bones what my hero John Paul II described as the 'law of the gift.' 

It was no surprise when after being shot in an assassination attempt in 1981, John Paul II personally forgave and reconciled with the man who shot him, face to face.  It was a no brainer for a saint like John Paul.   For the Gospel teaches us how to love our enemies, how to throw a pre-emptive strike that robs the ability of anyone to take our life.  'Nobody takes my life from me.  I freely lay it down.'

This is real and powerful Christianity.  To choose what to die for long before death can choose us.  To choose love long before hatred can ever gain a foothold in our heart.  To choose giving long before anyone can take anything from us. To choose mercy long before an enemy can hurt us.  This is the ultimate pre-emptive strike, and the hallmark of a real Christian. 

To be free is to be able to tell anyone who would hurt us that it's too late.  Everything is already given and forgiven. In the law of the gift, all is grace and all is mercy. These gifts from God are never meant to be stifled by hatred or rivalry, but are to freely flow in and out of us.  This is the meaning of true freedom.

iGen or Generation Z - a generation born after 1997 which makes up the largest percentage of you all in the pews today, reports to be the most anxious generation in history.  What the heck are you so anxious about?  I dare say it's because too much is measured.  The Gospel says everything is mercy and grace - all if gift..  Around us though, everything has a price, with strings attached.  .  Without thinking we judge everyone and everything.  We compare without end.  It all leads to terrible anxiety - fear of not being enough or having enough, of running out of love, relationship, time, energy, status, money - the list never ends.  Which is why Jesus' words have to find a way to take hold in this generation, your generation - somehow, someway.  Stop judging, and you will not be judged!

Our pivotal question this week is a good one. What do you need to let go of? I'll kick off the reflection with two answers.  The first is that I need to let go of the fear of running out.  The law of tonight's Gospel is simple but hard to trust.  If we want more of something, then give what we have away.  I need to let go of my fear of really trying this.  Of course we all need to be prudent, but we need more to dare the truth that unless we are generous, we are going to run out - of time, energy, faith, hope, love, relationship, status and money.  It will all run out, unless we let go of our need to control.

The second thing I need to let go of is my grudges.  I bet you have some too.  So I'm going to put it to myself and to you straight tonight.  You ready?  You're going to get hurt badly in life.  You will hurt others badly too.  It is scary what we are capable of.  I dropped a good friend a few years ago cold turkey because I wasn't getting what I wanted out of the relationship.  I stopped giving, and hurt the person really badly.  A couple years later a good friend did the same to me.  I was dropped and betrayed and dumped as a friend.  It sucked and I thought I deserved better.

Guess what?  Jesus feels and is present to all of it.  We can take all of this junk to the cross, where he knows betrayal.  He feels the worst thing we have done and the worst thing that has happened to us. And he says so what - there is something greater.  He says we really do have the power to forgive in advance.  If we are real Christians nobody takes our lives from us.  We freely give them.  Not counting the cost, and expecting nothing in return.  We can do this, because He has done it for us, and wants to do it now through us.

St. John Vianney described this pre-emptive strike in this way.  Jesus forgets how we will hurt him tomorrow so that He can forgive us today.

I invite you now to make a similar consecration to mercy with your life.  Give everything that you have or are or ever will be to Jesus, and give to him anyone that you have harmed or will harm, and everyone who has harmed or will ever harm you. I am asking you for the rest of your life to live this Gospel - give to everyone who asks of you, and love your enemies.

I know I'm asking you for a lot.  But didn't we come tonight to dare a real Christianity?  Didn't we come to become truly free?

What do you need to let go of?