Monday, June 19, 2017

One of the hardest lessons to learn is that in order for things to change one person in a conflict has to be the adult and stop the cycle. (Click the Link to Read More)

June 19, 2017
Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 365
2 COR 6:1-10
PS 98:1, 2B, 3AB, 3CD-4
MT 5:38-42

One of the hardest lessons to learn is that in order for things to change one person in a conflict has to be the adult and stop the cycle.  Paul today talks about the kind of things that happen to people in this world.  Paul had suffered so many things at the hand of others.   Thrown into prison, beaten during riots, even left for dead after stoning at one point.   Paul shows us that while these things are intended to silence us, they don’t obscure the image of Christ in us but further reveal it.   It is our response to persecution that shows who we truly are.   I need to learn this lesson as much as anyone else.  I often pray the prayer attributed to Saint Francis that says “May I not seek so much to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.”    Then on the same day, I’ll get annoyed if someone doesn’t pay attention to me or if they seem thoughtless or narcissistic.  

The funny thing is we often makes things self-centered, even when I worry about the vanity of others, it is me that I am thinking of.   When we read the Bible we often have that in our heads too.   We try to read it based on what we already know, what we believe, what we feel.  God wouldn’t do that because I wouldn’t!   The same with Jesus today when He speaks about the Old Testament rule of an “eye for an eye.”   Many today read this in light of popular politics and socioeconomic standards as some sort of endorsement for revenge.   What we have to do is look at the standards of the time in which they were written.   The people of that time were warring, tribal nations that were violent and explosive.  An eye for an eye was not a rule to allow revenge, but one to cap violence at a standard.   If you took my tooth, it wasn’t permission for me to take your tooth, but a prohibition for me that I couldn’t knock out all your teeth or kill you.   Its intent was to show love, to reform a world of violence and revenge.

Jesus takes this further.   He shows that the intent of the law wasn’t just to lower violence or cap it at a certain level but to seek reconciliation between God and man.   It was forgiveness.  Jesus reminds us that true change begins inside.   It isn’t in spending all our time looking at what someone else is doing.   Rather, we are to be spending time with Jesus in the Sacraments and in our personal prayer life that we might grow to be the kind of person that forgive slights so powerfully that He would hang on a cross naked while others gambled over His earthly possessions.   That’s where the power of God shows forth from us.   The Spirit we received in Baptism is most powerfully displayed when love and forgiveness emanate from us as we carry our own cross toward our own Cavalry.  The world may try to hide that Spirit you have been infused with but it’s still there, it’s up to us to make our life Christocentric (Christ at the center) rather than anthropocentric (man at the center, self, ego).

His servant and yours,
Brian Mullins

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14