Daily Reflection for Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners!
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51
Responsorial: Psalm 144:1b, 2. 9-10
Gospel: Mark 3:1-6
Our reflection on Wednesday's reading:
“They watched Jesus closely…so the might accuse him.” Mark 3:2
A fault line: a planar fracture or discontinuity . . . which can cause an earthquake . . . with pressure pushing from each side. This sounds much like the polarization in our culture and world today. Fault makes for an interesting metaphor and play on words given the blame and divisiveness characterizing today's news, too often filled with accusation and acrimony that too often create destructive results.
Before becoming Roman Catholic in the 90s, I was a Presbyterian minister, working in my later years as a pastoral counselor. A few years ago, I returned to my seminary for my 50th reunion. The opening chapel service included a sermon by Craig Barnes, the president of Princeton Theological Seminary. The opening words of his sermon (homily if you prefer) were these: "What if we're wrong?”
I was both impressed and challenged by these words to the grizzled and experienced clergy trained in the 60s and the young aspiring ministerial students at the beginning of their careers. While this question may elicit defensiveness, the inability or failure to be able to ask such a question is at the heart of the polarization in our country, our culture, and our churches. In today's gospel, the Pharisees knew they were right. Their faith had become a rigid religiosity that did not allow for self-examination and openness to the actual presence of the son of God, the promised Messiah of their own faith and tradition. They “knew” before they listened.
We are all wrong sometimes as individuals and as institutions. Too often out of our fear of being wrong, our unwillingness to be vulnerable, and our need for control, we close our hearts to the love of God and neighbor that is at the heart of Jesus’ ministry and message.
What will we rely upon in such trouble times as these? Will we depend on patterns of thought we have assumed to be true and that assure us that we are right? Or will we trust in the power and love of Jesus evident in today's gospel story? Will we have the courage to ask if we might be wrong? Will we have the grace to listen to their hearts and needs, the fears and hopes of others and to hear their heartfelt stories as we seek to be the light of Christ in our world?
Prayer: Lord, grant us the courage to stand in the “between” of conflict and tension. Help us to bring open ears and hearts to the needs of our brothers and sisters. May we be your light in this world of need. Amen