Daily Reflection for Monday, October 31, 2022
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Monday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Philippians 2:1-4
Responsorial: Psalm 131:1-3
Gospel: Luke 14:12-14
Our reflection on Monday’s readings:
… complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing … humbly regard others as more important than yourselves … Philippians 2:2-3
Today’s first reading brought back a long-ago experience at a social gathering. I was conversing with a formerly Catholic woman who asserted that the Church taught something I was certain it did not. My doctrinaire, too-young-for-nuance-self challenged the remark which immediately created tension. We both had the good sense to abandon the topic but afterwards I re-played the experience and what I needed to learn from it.
My immediate learning was that confrontation rarely changes minds. In fact, it’s more likely to harden positions and to drive people further apart.
Not long afterwards I read a helpful article about dealing with differences. It encouraged both parties to make a sincere and respectful attempt to explore the other’s position. Even if they never come to an agreement, the sheer investment in each another can create some closeness—not always, but it can happen.
In today’s first reading, St. Paul was speaking with his Philippian followers regarding their relationships with each other. He reminds them that God’s grace has come to them through the death and resurrection of Jesus. He exhorts the community to unity and to love one another--not just a casual, convenient love. We owe each other nothing less than the love of Christ, an extravagant love that places concern for the good of the other ahead of concern for oneself.
By nature we’re not inclined to this sort of extravagant love. We tend to measure how much love to offer and to weigh the costs. But that is not God’s way. God loves us first, even when we are undeserving, unlovable. Because the Spirit of God lives in us, we have the incredible capacity to love as God loves--extravagantly, not counting the cost or calculating the return. In one of the many paradoxes of faith, it is only through self-forgetful love of others that we will ever find the peace described in today’s psalm and the blessing Jesus promises in the gospel.
So, what would that kind of love look like in your life—in your family, your workplace? What would it look like at this election time as you consider choices for your local community, for our country, for the world? Who comes to mind as you consider the call to regard others’ needs as more important than your own?
Wishing you God’s blessings,