May 2010

Fr. Antony Portrait

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Christ is Risen!  It is amazing how often I hear people saying that they are not worthy to receive Holy Communion as if any of us are or ever could be!  Worthiness has nothing at all to do with it.

When the Virgin Mary was approached by the Archangel Gabriel and was told she would bear the Son of God, she did not respond, "But I am not worthy!"  She said something quite reasonable.  "How can this be since I have not known a man?"  She asked for further information!  After the Archangel "explained" it to her in a little more detail, Mary simply responded, "Be it done to me as you have said.  I am the handmaiden of the Lord."  But not one word about unworthiness.  Not one.

You see, it isn't about worthiness.  It is about being open.  It isn't about getting it right all the time.  It is about being connected.  It isn't about being perfect.  It is about being willing.  We can't be right all the time (have you noticed?), but we can be awake, available, and willing.  We can be connected.

One of the most important revelations that came through Jesus Christ is that God cares for us.  St. Peter wrote in his first epistle, "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares for you."  A beautiful and simple message, but entirely radical if you consider that most of humanity from the beginning of belief labored under the impression that God didn't care.

God-consciousness grew gradually from fear to love.  The Bible is a remarkable record of this evolution.  In reading the Scriptures we must realize that it was not God who changes, but human perception that changes from age to age.  Some people, I fear, have not yet grasped the meaning of the ultimate revelation:  the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The ultimate revelation is Jesus Christ.  It is important to realize just how amazing the doctrine of the Incarnation is.  It is not that Jesus is like God.  That isn't enough.  The truth revealed is that God is like Jesus!  If it doesn't look like Jesus, then it isn't God.  God loves us as we are and that is that and why do we know this is true?  Look at Jesus.

So, we are not asked to be worthy.  We can't be and God knows it.  We are asked to join him in a relationship based not on fear, but on love.  Worthiness is a condition, but love is unconditional.  We are set free from the idea that we have to do something in order to be loved by God when all we have to be is ourselves.

Open, awake, and willing.

Love in Christ,

Fr. Antony