Living the Gospel – March 3, 2019

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This Sunday’s readings – Sirach and the Gospel in particular – spoke volumes to me. Certainly, the phrase “the fruit of a tree shows the care it has had” is a relevant message to we who are parents. It helped me remember times that I’ve fallen short of the ideal with my own children. Every so often they tease me about my mistakes. At least, I hope they’re joking!

Sirach, thanks be to God, also gives us healthy strategies for correcting our misdeeds. Like the proverbial “count to ten” before speaking – and waiting before we praise somebody we don’t truly know. We all know that it’s far too easy to get caught up in problem-type situations or even “social” movements without testing their merits. I’ve also done that a few times. Sigh…

If we get discouraged with what we’re doing, it’s good to take some time for reflection and prayer before we come down too hard on ourselves. Gently echoing Jesus on the cross, one of my favorite authors, Henry Thoreau wrote, “A man is not his hope, nor his despair, nor yet his past deed. We know not yet what we have done, still less what we are doing.” In a way, this thought brings me comfort. We know that even judging ourselves is serious business, and it might not help us make things right.

Maybe, just maybe, if we can open our eyes wide enough to see other people more clearly and listen to what they are feeling, the proverbial “beam” that Jesus said was in our own eye will disappear – and we’ll finally be able to see that all of us are children of God. And we’ll remember that we need to continue to try to live up to our role in this great adventure called LIFE, loving our families and our neighbors, striving for justice, caring for creation, and praying each day to become more like HIM who gave his life for us.

Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA