Scripture Reflection . . .
First Reading: Isaiah 53:10-11
Responsorial Psalm: Pslam 33
Second Reading: Hebrews 4:14-16
Gospel: Mark 10: 35-45
St. Paul, in the Second Reading, makes a powerful statement,”For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.”
Such a statement may shake up our image of God as an all powerful, judging God, far removed from the reality of life and our humanity.
The disciples in the Gospel Reading learned from Jesus’ example that power is not about status – where we sit and who we know. He used this as a teachable moment rather than a reason to condemn. It is about serving, “whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
A unsettling yet compassionate image of God surfaces: a God who is the one who washes feet, touches the unclean, spends time with the outcasts and sinners. God who is with us in our lowest places; God who took the last place we’d want to be (on the cross) so that we can be raised up. God who not only understands humanity, but sympathizes with us, because he’s been one of us.
In our lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .
We take a moment to recall this image of God in the experiences of these past days.
Our annual Oktoberfest “fun-raiser” had to be cancelled because of the threat of a Hurricane or at least a hearty Northeaster. Who wants to sit under a tent in the wind or ride a hayride through muddy fields and rainy skies? Yet we experienced an outpouring of support from all the people who purchased the freshly prepared foods, returned deposits, and quietly went about cleaning up all the preparations. God was with us in this time of disappointment and in the rallying of supporters.
Sisters departed for and returned from retreat. A retreat offers the time to slow down body and mind, to re-focus on this God of love and mercy; Our Redeemer who is with us in all seasons of our lives.
The gardens were alive with activity as the season comes to a close. The new 2nd Grade class visited the school garden for the first time to plant garlic and harvest potatoes; Seniors from a local High School gave a day of service cleaning up the community garden. And the gardeners from the community garden gathered for the last harvest dinner for the year. The experience of working with the soil and watching the life-cycle of plants reminds of the God of creation and that we are a part of creation. This has a way of putting us in our place!
With the Season of Autumn as we watch the trees start to shed their leaves, we experience a return to regular gatherings. The Redeemer Associates came together for their monthly prayer and sharing and the Sisters met for their Province Gathering to share important updates and to remember the God who has called us here in all our unique personalities and backgrounds. We celebrate the God of unity as we strive to live in equality with one another without seeking status.
In your life . . .
The Responsorial Psalm proclaims “Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you.”
You may wish to recall a time when you experienced God’s mercy; when you believed that God is a God of compassion and love rather than judgment and condemnation.
How has this experience helped you grow in trust and faith?
Blessings on your week!