TWENTY SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME.
In today’s Scripture readings we get a lot of advice about daily living and relational behaviour. We are encouraged to look at the source that exhibits our actions.
In Ecclesiasticus we read, “be gentle in carrying out your business and you will be better loved than a lavish giver.” This quality is available to all and is not exclusive to some.
Hebrews invites us to be members of the “city of the living God” in which everyone is a first born and a citizen. The “city of God”, life itself is an inclusive place: there are no levels, degrees or hierarchies. We are all first borns.
Luke shows us Jesus “working” on the Sabbath where he shares a parable with the wedding guests and with the host. It is a parable that confuses us on a first reading, the punch line being, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” A challenge to us, to consider what is our motivation for our thoughts and actions?
We have all encountered somebody, who in our opinion, puts themselves first or who constantly boasts of achievements, race family or wealth. On the other hand, we know those who are gifted but do not talk about it or do not put themselves forward. Unfortunately, we are seeing good examples of blustering, posturing, swaggering and strutting in some of our political leaders near and far!
What is the panacea that Jesus offers us? What is it that promotes godly or positive actions or behaviours? I think St Catherine of Siena understood this psychological dilemma that we all suffer and that is alluded to in today’s readings. St Catherine invites us to enter the “cell of self – knowledge”. Today we would say, to take time out of our business, to enter a place of quiet, to have a space for self-reflection. It is an invitation to pause, practise attention, to tap into who we are in this created world.
Here in this place, space, we discover that we are a precious creation within a vast wonder-full universe where we can share our spark of life and light with all our brothers and sisters. That there is no need to out shine, to take down or put down the other. All is needed is to be yourself. As St Catherine said : Be yourself and you will set the World on fire.” An African proverb says: “The frog wanted to be an elephant , and burst”.
Sister Helen Mary Harmey, OP