Friday, July 15, 2016

Feed the hungry--even on Sunday

"The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
Matthew 12:8

As difficult as it can be at times, I feel so much better about everything when I have had a very quiet Sabbath. When I can completely unplug from other distractions, I can center so fully on God and that helps every aspect of my life--my job, my relationships with my peeps, everything. When I can take the time to disengage for a while, my later engagement with the world is more productive; I have more to give the world if I re-fuel with God first. That said, I love the practicality Jesus teaches in this Gospel. He is in trouble (again!) for his disciples picking off heads of grain and eating them on the Sabbath.  His response? They are hungry. When people are hungry they need food and they should have it. Not some mysterious law or ritual that would prevent them from what they need because of what day it is.  It is the Spirit of the law that matters much more than the law itself. Jesus is so practical and sensible that no wonder the "WWJD" movement was so popular! What would Jesus do? He would feed the hungry even if it's Sunday...sheesh! Like there was a question? And, again, as we head into a summer weekend, our hearts and prayers are in France...hold those who suffer, Lord. Love, heidi

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Traveling the rocky path...

"The way of the just is smooth; the path of the just you make level."
Isaiah 26:7

It sure doesn't take us long in life to experience something that makes us question this scripture, does it? Smooth? Really? Our saint today, St. Kateri Tekakwitha's path doesn't seem to have been smooth as she made her way through life with the lasting effects of small pox. And what about Jesus? Jesus was the just-est of the just and his rocky road to Calvary was anything but smooth! So what about this reading? It seems a bit hard to swallow.  The answer is in today's Gospel, Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)  Jesus knows the road doesn't feel smooth to us. Jesus knows that life will put obstacles in our path that sure make our journey difficult. But Jesus also knows that God is there for us, just as God was there for Jesus during his rough journey.  We are not traveling this murky path alone!  So, whatever path we find ourselves traveling today, be it rocky or level, let's remember that we do not travel on our own.  We have a hand to hold, a guide to lead us.  We can make it, one step at a time.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Growing down...

"At that time Jesus exclaimed: 'I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."
Matthew 11:25

So, which are we? Are we the wise and learned or are we the childlike? Good question, today, posed by the folks at Pray-As-You-Go.  If anything, I tend to think we grow backwards into being more childlike as we age.  For one thing, the older I get the more I realize I don't know.  Where I was more confident and self assured in my youth, I feel much less sure of myself now.  Oh, there are some things I feel "smart" about, but overall, I feel less and less sure.  When it comes to God stuff, I feel more childlike because the longer I'm around the more vividly I see God working.  God is around every corner, working amazing miracles everyday.  I didn't see that in my youth.  There may have been a miracle here and there, but I wasn't able to see God in all things then.  I had to grow down a bit to recognize that I can't draw a breath without God's help. God works up a sweat helping me in my life, day after day.  I had to grow older and grow down to really appreciate God in my life.  That's something to think and pray about this Wednesday! Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Hard Stuff

"Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented..."
Matthew 11:20
On Pray-As-You-Go this morning they ask a pondering question...why do you think the people who heard and watched Jesus did not do what he said? Oh, that's easy, I thought to myself. Because Jesus said really hard stuff.  Love your enemies. Love your neighbor; oh, and by the way, your neighbor is the person you dislike the most. As we learned in the Gospel of the Good Samaritan, Jesus made a hero of the Samaritan and the Jews hated the Samaritans. No wonder the people didn't listen to him...he turned their prejudices upside down by telling them they couldn't have prejudices! And we, even after two thousand years of Jesus' teachings, have the same difficulty as the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida.  We feel better about our own failures by pointing out the failures of others. When, instead, we could humbly recognize our failures and try to learn what they teach us. As Fr. Richard Rohr points out, we don't eradicate our failures by defending them or projecting them onto others. We humbly accept that we fail and learn what we can from it. Probably the most important thing we can learn is that we can't fix ourselves. We need to put our own egos to bed and stop putting others down to soothe ourselves.  That just doesn't work in Jesus' Kingdom.  Love, heidi

Monday, July 11, 2016

There is no "other"

"The one you think you hate is about to help you. The one you think is wrong has something to teach you. There is no 'other.'"
Fr. James Martin, SJ, web reflection on the Good Samaritan

In these days of powerful and vehement disagreement, this little reflection was so illuminating to me. In the Gospel of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus is asked "Who is my neighbor?" He answers with the story we are all familiar with about the Samaritan guy helping the injured fellow by the side of the road.  While people would have been shocked that Jesus made a hero of the Samaritan, we can learn and be shocked too.  What Jesus was teaching all of us is that the one we think we hate has something to teach us. The one we disagree with will help us. What am I to learn from the person who is my political opposite? What can I teach the person on the other side? We all have our strong opinions and views and that is OK, but our greatest teachers are the people with whom we disagree the most. They can teach us about acceptance, tolerance and the REAL neighbor-ness that Jesus is talking about.  So, the next time we are screaming at the TV talking heads (why are we watching them in the first place?) let's stop and think, what can I learn from this "other" point of view? Maybe that there really is no "other" in Jesus' neighborhood. We are all one under God.  Wow, that, right? Love, heidi