Sunday, September 10, 2006

No good deed goes unpunished

I've been blessed with a whole week of priests who showed up on time... on the correct day... to celebrate mass for us in the early morning hours. One even mentioned how comforting it was to him to realize that no matter how early he thought he was getting up, there was already somebody already up and already praying when he awoke. So for one week, at least, life was golden.

Today's Gospel from Mark (7:31-37) speaks to that. Jesus had just healed a deaf man with a speech impediment, and the crowd is amazed and zealous. "They were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.'"

He has done everything well. Of course this is the same Jesus who will later be reviled, betrayed and crucified. And some of these people praising him may be the same people rejecting him later. We don't know that. What we do know is that the weather changes. And it happens to all of us. My blog is called flavor of the month for that reason. Some days I can do no wrong; others... everything is wrong.

Our celebrant this morning used the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished." Her questions centered around why, in the face of such obvious signs of goodness, do we look for the catch. "Where's the hidden agenda?" we ask. Our cynicism is well earned in the culture we inhabit. "It's too good to be true," we say. Jesus was too good to be true for many of his followers. They allowed him his fifteen minutes of golden fame, but were looking for a way to debunk the myth and get back to their lives.

Too good to be true carries the undercurrent of resistance for the need to change. If Jesus was speaking the TRUTH, then who could continue living their self-centered, powerful, holier-than-thou lifestyles? When I look inside my own heart for my own cache of resistance ... my own unwillingness to change my perceptions, my attitudes, my behavior, I understand why no good deed goes unpunished.

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