Walking the Walk

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As I read today’s gospel passage I thought that its tone was harsh and definitely not the consoling message we often hear. Then I realized that Jesus was speaking about the realities of his – and our – mission.

So I decided to look at the readings overall, just to see how they were connected. The reading from Isaiah spoke about sending “fugitives” to Tarshish to proclaim the glory of God – and that they would “bring people to God from all the nations.” Of course, Jonah tried to escape God’s call by going to Tarshish, got in trouble on the boat, and landed in Nineveh anyway. His road wasn’t easy, but he made trouble for himself by not doing what God wanted.

The reading from Hebrews then said, “You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: ‘My child, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by Him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines.’” Makes sense. Self-discipline has to be learned, and the smart person understands its value. We need to be disciplined in order to do God’s work – no cruelty, no exploiting people. We need to be people of prayer, honesty, humility, strength, faith – the list goes on and on. It’s not easy for anyone – but it’s definitely worth the effort.

If we want to enter the Kingdom and be saved from sinning – I think that Jesus is telling us that we can’t just “talk the talk” – we need to “walk the walk.” We’ll need to build the strength of character that can bring us through the tough times that everyone encounters, it will help us avoid unnecessarily risky situations, and it will give us the joy of knowing that we’re doing God’s will.

Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA