Twenty-sixth Sunday in ordinary time
There is a wonderful reversal of our own tendency to deal with people we assume to be against us, or in the case of religious faith, differ somewhat from our own expectations. Naturally, we love those we get along with, and we accept differences in character and lifestyle quite well, some more than others, but when it comes to religious beliefs things can get pretty tricky, even problematic. I don’t need to spell this out, we just have to watch, read, and listen to religiously inclined people discussing matters of faith. The saddest thing seems to be how some of us are quite convinced that we have Christ’s best interests at heart, we are right others are wrong. The demands of the present day make this interest in the teachings of Jesus sharper, we must constantly make informed decisions on all kinds of moral questions, or be faced with difficulty in finding a way out of legislation that seems at first glance. view to disagree with the belief of the faith.
Yet today Jesus stops us all, turns things around and makes us think from another angle; here is what I think is a deeply empowering comment:
‘There is no one doing mighty deed in my name
who can say bad things about me at the same time.
Because whoever is not against us is for us. ‘ (Mk 9: 39,40)
Now, powerful actions are one thing, but to make a bigger point, Jesus adds in the following verse an illustration of one of the simplest acts we can do, that of being kind to each other, in this case anticipating a need, but there is attached to it the promise of a reward from him in the Kingdom:
‘Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I tell you, will surely not lose its reward ”. (Mk 9:41)
How does that speak to you? What does it say? For me, as I have implied, it is a call to stop any judgmental attitude especially towards those who are different from me, but also not to assume that I know what is right. There are of course times when the issues before us have a certain clarity, we know that certain actions are harmful, certain ways of behaving badly in that they harm others. Most of us can recognize a “bad apple” when we encounter one, and it is important to be smart in life. This is why, in the next section of this gospel, Jesus attacks those who claim moral or religious superiority, who try to harm or denigrate the faith of one of the little ones.
Sin is still there, we are all quite capable of sinning and excusing ourselves, but Jesus wants us to examine the cause of our sin, and the place it fuels and grows in our minds and hearts. The harshness of his language aims to cut us short, to stop us and to reflect: “Am I one of those who make children sin, shake their faith?” I can’t answer this for you, sometimes we can be very blind in our zeal for God, but it does us good to hit the pause button in our life and take the time to think. Can I yearn for the generosity of “Jesus who sees beyond the immediate to the heart of things or the potential hidden in one person, who ignites the love hidden in another, whose mercy is limitless? We can only try!
Saint Francis de Sales – Introduction to a devout life
“We do not have to worry about our imperfections since for us perfection is to fight against them. How can we fight against them if we do not see them, or overcome them if we do not face them.”
Quotes from Brother Roger de Taizé
“A simple prayer is like a soft sigh, like a child’s prayer, keeps us awake. Has not God revealed to the little ones, to the poor of Christ, what the powerful of this world have such a hard time understanding? “
“When the Church tirelessly listens, heals and reconciles, she becomes what she is most luminous: a communion of love, of compassion, of consolation, a clear reflection of the Risen Christ.” “Never distant, never on the defensive, free from all harshness, the Church can radiate the humble confidence of the faith in our human hearts.”
Saint Isaac the Syrian
“If you can’t be merciful, at least speak like you’re a sinner. If you’re not a peacemaker, at least don’t be a troublemaker. If you can’t be diligent, at least in your own life. thought be like a lazy man. If you are not victorious, do not exalt yourself over the vanquished. If you cannot close your mouth to the one who denigrates his companion, at least you avoid joining them in this.
Key words: Sunday reflection with Fr. Robin Gibbons, September 26, 2020
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