Posted by: liturgicalyear | November 20, 2012

On being lukewarm

Yesterday began the last 2 weeks of the liturgical year.  This coming Sunday we will celebrate the feast of Christ the King, and the following Sunday, the new year begins with the first Sunday of Advent.

As we walk thorough these remaining days, the daily readings grow more and more foreboding – kind of a wake-up call to get your spiritual house in order.

Today’s reading from the book of Revelations is no exception. Its words starkly call us to repent:

“‘The Amen, the faithful and true witness,
the source of God’s creation, says this:
“I know your works;
I know that you are neither cold nor hot.
I wish you were either cold or hot.
So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’
and yet do not realize that you are wretched,
pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich,
and white garments to put on
so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed,
and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise.
Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” (Rev 3:14-19)

I once heard a lecture from Scott Hahn, where he said that a more accurate translation to “I will spit you out of my mouth” is “I will vomit you out of my mouth” – a much more visceral and forceful imagery to the response of being lukewarm.  Ouch!

So exactly what does it mean to be lukewarm?

The primary dictionary meaning applies to the senses: “mildly warm, tepid”.  Tepid water in a bathtub gets cold very quickly.  Those seeking a soothing bath will not linger in a cold tub.  Mildly warm mashed potatoes melt a pat of butter just a bit and nothing more, leaving a chunk of butter on cold potatoes – not very appetizing.  “Please do not pass the potatoes.”  We find neither of these situations very appealing.  Neither does God.

The secondary meaning, applies to character, “Lacking conviction or enthusiasm; indifferent”.  God wants us to “buy gold” from Him and “white garments to put on” so that we will be with Him forever in heaven. God doesn’t want us to be a tepid bath or cold potatoes.  No, indeed!  He desires us, each and every one of us, to share the heavenly banquet, to share His very life and love for eternity. In order to do so, He obliges us to, “be earnest…and repent.”  If we want what he wants for us, we must respond to this admonition.

So today, bring yourself before the throne of God and look with heroic honesty at your life.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you lack conviction or enthusiasm, or where you are indifferent.  Then repent and make a specific plan to correct your indifference.  Implore your Guardian Angel to “rule and guide” you on this way and to help to fortify your drooping hands, so that you will be worthy of that white garment.

I leave you with the sage words of Yoda from the first Star Wars episode, “Do or do not.  There is no try.

Lord, Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner!  Anne

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