Scripture Reflection . . .
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Jeremiah 38: 4-6, 8 -10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 40
Seconding Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-4
The Author of the Letter to the Hebrews calls us to ” . . . persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus . . .”
If you have been watching the Summer Olympics in Rio, you have probably seen the effort it takes to compete – to swim, run, bike a race. We see it on the faces and in the bodies of athletes from all around the world as they go the final distance.
Then we consider that these few moments of struggle and glory come after years of training. Years of failure and success, years of falling down and getting up again; years of never giving up, always keeping an eye on a goal – even when life has taken different directions and sometimes even a wrong turn.
Do we see our spiritual journey, our relationship with God as the goal to which we strive each day? Do we see life as the training grounds for eternal union with our Creator?
In the First Reading we read of a king who doesn’t have the gumption to stand up for the life of another so the Prophet Jeremiah is cast into a cistern of mud, left to die. But his journey is not over. “Out of the mud of the swamp he set my feet upon a crag, he made firm my steps” (Psalm 40). Sometimes we are the one in the pit, other times we are the ones who cast others into the pit.
We do not receive a comforting message from Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Rather than peace he tells us he has brought a fire and division. Sometimes we feel divided and sometimes we cause division.
Life is not a straight, clear, easy race course promising a smooth ride. There will be dark pits, searing fire, division because of life circumstances or our choices. But these can also be the purifying, transforming moments that take us deeper into the love and mercy of God. We are reminded to look to Jesus for guidance and strength. “For the sake of the joy that lay before him he endured the cross . . . Consider how he endured such opposition from sinners in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12 : 1-4).
We are in need of God.
In Our Lives as Sisters of the Holy Redeemer . . .
Our spiritual Olympic training this past week included
- Vacation Bible School. With about 40 children we learned through songs, crafts, bible study and games that Jesus is our Hope, Courage, Direction, Love and Power . . . so follow Him!
- Two Sisters participated in the Leadership Conference for Religious Women that highlighted the contemplative aspect of Religious Life. It is not about how fast the race is run, but perhaps it is more about the run itself and who we run with.
- A few other Sisters are in the midst of moving to different convents. Times of transition and change always carry the potential for transformation.
- Speaking of searing heat and fire, it is extremely hot and humid in this area of the country! However, it offers a time to move a little slower.
In Your Life . . .
As your begin this new week you may wish to reflect on the following:
How do you keep your eyes fixed on the goal, Jesus, in your daily life?
In the Olympics we often see the family and friends of athletes in the stands cheering them on and we often learn of their story and the people who have been their inspiration over the years. Who are the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) that encourage and inspire you and help you out of the tough times?
Perhaps you’ve heard this song . . .
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’
Gotta keep my head held high
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just keep pushing on,