Daily Reflection for Friday, January 17, 2020
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Friday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: 1 Samuel 8:4-7, 10-22
Responsorial: Psalm 89:16-19
Gospel: Mark 2:1-12
Our reflection on Friday’s readings:
“Samuel prayed about this before the Lord. God said in answer, ‘Grant the people’s every request. It is not you they reject; they are rejecting me as their king.’” 1 Samuel 8:7
Marriage and family counselors frequently ask, “Would you rather be right or happy?” I confess, the first time this question was posed to me, I was certain I could be both if only the person on the opposite side would quit being so stubborn. The protagonist of the novel Silver Linings Playbook attempts to transform his life by choosing to be “kind over right,” which could be an even greater challenge.
Today’s readings grapple with this dilemma. Samuel becomes frustrated when the elders of Israel wish to be ruled by a king, even after Samuel carefully advises that a king would enslave them and put them to work for his own interests. The Lord tells Samuel to grant the request and let the people deal with the consequences—they are rejecting God, not Samuel. The elders chose what they perceived to be “right,” even though Samuel tried to convince them that their blind desire to be like other nations would not make them happy.
When four men cut open the roof of the house Jesus was visiting and lowered their paralytic friend so that Jesus could heal him, the scribes questioned Jesus when he forgave the paralytic’s sins instead of healing his body. They were so narrow-minded and lacking in faith that they couldn’t see that Jesus had given the man a greater gift than the one he was seeking. Jesus healed the man so they would know He had the authority to forgive sin.
The desire to be right is powerful, but no issue worth arguing about ever has a clear right or wrong answer. Those closest to me know that I twist myself all sorts of ways to prove that there is a right option and it’s the one I’ve suggested. Deep down, I understand the importance and wisdom of “kind over right.” When I can set aside my selfish-nature and pray for God to open me, soften me, and comfort me, faith always leads me to the kinder, happier, most peaceful place.
Recall a time you fought mightily for something you consider to be right. Set aside time today to prayerfully let go of the need to be right or the desire to “win” and ask God to help you sit with other opinions and viewpoints. You may never agree with opposing ideas, but God may present options you are currently unable to imagine.
May God’s Peace Be With You,