Thursday, July 7, 2016

You don't know anything!?

A Reflection on the readings for Daily Mass for Thursday of the Fourteenth Week of Ordinary Time, July 7, 2016.

Hosea 11:1-4, 8e-9
Psalm 80:2ac, 3b, 15-16
The Holy Gospel According to Saint Matthew 10:7-15

I was haggard and disheveled.   I hadn't slept a wink.   My wife was even more tired than I was.  Our daughter was refusing to sleep.   She had decided that night time was day time, and day time was night time.  It was turning our life into a topsy turvy mess.  Here it was two A.M. and she was bouncing off the walls.  My wife was asleep in a chair where she had finally succumbed to her fatigue, having to work again in a just a few hours.   My eyes were blood shot and cracked and I kept saying go to bed!   A few hours later I called my dad and mom and I apologized to them for all the times I had kept them awake as a child.  I knew I had been hyper active and all those years I got upset when they asked me not to eat candy or drink soda... how many nights had I done just this to them?

“When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”― Mark Twain

Kids always seem to know better than their parents.   There is something about the aging process that makes a child who hits pubescence seem to think that anyone older than them must simply just not understand life.  All of a sudden no one else is right, everyone else is either stupid or crazy, and only I can ever figure out the truth.  It makes it hard for parents, but the much more difficult cross to bear is that it hurts.  It makes our hearts ache for that child.  Knowing what we had to go through to learn, knowing that they are making mistakes that will lead them to pain and sorrow.... that is the silent sword that pierces the heart of one who loves their child.   We've been there, even if they don't believe.. even if they don't think we can ever understand.... we've had our hearts broken, we've had our lives riddled with sin, we've been down those roads.. some of us to places we won't even talk about.

The first response is often anger, isn't it? "Why won't you listen!"  "I'm trying to help!"  "Won't you just learn from my mistakes and not make the same ones?!"  Growing up that's how I heard that verse from Saint Matthew.   "Shake the dust off your feet" and move on.   They weren't worth getting worked up over, just find someone else to proselytize was the message I received.   It's not the one I hear today when I read those words... it's rather a reminder of what we see at the end of the reading from Hosea... "My heart is overwhelmed and my pity is stirred.  I will not give vent to my blazing anger...[] For I am God, not man."  God isn't calling us to reject those people, to shake the dust off and leave them to lose their way.  He's rather saying, do not let fear cling to you.   It's as if He is saying "I've got this."  Don't let the dust of the situation cling to you, drag you down.. take away your joy and peace.   Rather trust in the Lord, you're God.   Lift them up in prayer and leave it to Him.

That's a hard lesson to learn isn't it?  Offer them at the foot of the cross.  Like the Blessed Virgin Mary we are challenged with standing and watching as a 'sword pierces our own soul.'  She is our example, the ultimate of discipleship.  Even when she did not understand she kept all of it in her heart and thought about it.  She did not discourage Him from this path, but rather, she asked Him to perform the first miracle of his ministry.  That's our other thought... to lift them up, to say Jesus.. we are asking you to turn the water of their life.. no matter how dingy or used it may become... into something exquisite... a wine fit for a king.  That's the interesting thing about that miracle isn't it?   These were the ceremonial cleansing jars.. where people washed their hands and feet from the trip.  Water was precious (is precious) in those lands.   They wouldn't waste it and did not know about germs or such.. so they just washed and put it back.  Yet it became the most beautiful of wines did it not?   Their life, our lives... are in His hands.  Are we ready to be transformed into wine?

My Dad When I Was...
4 years old:
My daddy can do anything!
5 years old:
My daddy knows a lot!
6 years old:
My dad is smarter than your dad!
8 years old:
My dad doesn't know exactly everything.
10 years old:
In the olden days when my dad grew up,
things were sure different!
12 years old:
Oh, well, naturally,
Dad doesn't know anything about that.
He is too old to remember his childhood.
14 years old:
Don't pay any attention to my dad.
He is so old-fashioned!
21 years old:
Him? My Lord, he's hopelessly out of date!
25 years old:
Dad knows a little bit about it,
but then he should because he has been around so long.
30 years old:
Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks.
After all, he's had a lot of experience.
35 years old:
I'm not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
40 years old:
I wonder how Dad would have handled it.
He was so wise and had a world of experience.
50 years old:
I'd give anything if Dad were here now
so I could talk this over with him.
Too bad I didn't appreciate how smart he was.
I could have learned a lot from him.
I sure do miss him.
from Ann Landers

His servant and yours,

"He must increase, I must decrease."