Daily Reflection for Tuesday, September 24, 2019
|Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Ezra 6:7-8, 12b, 14-20
Responsorial: Psalm 122:1-5
Gospel: Luke 8:19-21
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“(Jesus) said to them in reply, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Luke 8:21)
In reflecting on today’s gospel, I recalled reading that St. Augustine said (in his Sermon 72) that “it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ.” My initial reaction was incredulity . . . accepting St. Augustine’s words appeared to diminish Mary’s role as Christ’s birth mother! But I quickly realized that the real challenge was for me to understand and accept Jesus’ birth mother as a disciple of her son!
It's one thing for you and me to see ourselves . . . and others . . . as having been born in the image of Jesus Christ! But it’s a very different thing . . . and much more challenging . . . for me to envision myself as saying “Yes” to God, and choosing, every morning, to see myself as one of Jesus’ disciples, and to then consciously live the entire day as He would choose for me to do.
Part of the problem in following through on this is that we are all prone to hearing . . . but we don’t always listen. There’s a big difference. To “hear” is “to perceive sounds by the ear, to receive an impression of sound through the auditory nerves of the ear.” But, to “listen” is to “make a conscious effort to hear, and to also give heed.” When we do this, we ignore unfair stereotypes. We don’t judge, we love. We don’t immediately counter, we trust. We listen . . . and that enables us to make magic by bringing about change.
Of course, we often fall short. When the U.S. Catholic bishops issued a pastoral letter on racism last fall there were two polarized categories of responses: those who supported the Church’s long history of social justice and those who saw the pastoral letter as part of a “liberal agenda” . . . which meant that they were immediately repulsed by it.
We can truly make Christ present every time we thoughtfully listen to God’s word and, by means of our actions, bring His blessings to a small part of the 21st century human community.
The renowned Protestant theologian, Paul Tillich, said, “The first duty of love is to listen.” In listening to my neighbor . . . to the yearnings of my soul . . . and to God and to Jesus . . . I love. And in listening with an open mind, I am empowered to learn, grow, and even change.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners. Help us to love, listen, learn, grow … and thus to change!