Scripture Reflection . . .
Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Ezekiel 33:7-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psslm 95 “If today you hear God’s voice, harden not your hearts.”
Second Reading: Romans 13:8-10
Gospel: Matthew 18:15-20
Today’s Scripture Readings remind me of one of our Foundress’s sayings: “Love of God and love of neighbor are but one and the same.” Variations of this truth can be found in the teachings of many other congregations and religions. Faith is not lived out in a vacuum and it is not just about me and God – it is about me and you and every other person and aspect of creation. Faith is lived in community.
Perhaps this is why both the Reading from Ezekiel and the Gospel of Matthew insist on righting wrongs in others, in ourselves and between eachother. It’s not just about seeking individual and personal salvation but about helping each other on this journey. I recall a description of a pilgrimage being about walking the pace of the slowest person. It’s not so much about getting there first as it is about getting there together; “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”.
St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans makes very clear that “love is the fulfillment of the law.” All the commandments are about love. If we act out of love there is no stealing, harming, disrespect. . . Jesus himself declared that the two greatest commandments are love of God and love of neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).
In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .
One of the draws to Religious Life in my early discernment was, and still is, community. We are not meant to follow Jesus on our own. We need each other. It is in this coming together of individuals with different backgrounds and personalities that we learn what love, forgiveness, and humility is all about. Here are some community experiences that stand out from this past week.
The tradition of keeping vigil with a Sister who is dying has been something I cherish about our lives together. In those last hours when a Sister is between this life and the next we take turns sitting and praying with her. The presence of God is almost tangible. This past week we accompanied one of our Sisters to the threshold of eternity.
As a congregation we submitted a statement and joined with the larger community to show our concern and support of the Dreamers and DACA as we seek to live in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters.
As we do with each Sister we gathered together to celebrate the birthday of one of our Sisters. It is a communal thanksgiving of the gift of life and the God who called us together.
Another Sister traveled to a mission based leadership program in which participants experienced the wisdom and support of community as they seek to carry out the challenging work of health care ministry in this day and age.
Our community life is strengthened by our simple daily sharing together in prayer, liturgy and meals.
In Your Life. . .
The Readings today invite personal reflection on how our actions either loose or bind God’s ability to dwell among us and how our actions either create or impede community.
You may want to notice what and who is loosed or bound by your life and actions this past week. Who have you helped set free by your love and presence and who have you tied up with words, judgment, unforgiveness . . . ?
Seek not to be critical and judgmental of yourself in the process but rather see this as a gift from God who loves you and wants you to grow deeper in love and faith.
You may also want to pray Pope Francis’ prayer to Mary Untier of Knots
Through your grace,
and your example,
deliver us from all evil,
Our Lady, and untie
the knots that
prevent us from being
united with God,
so that we, free
from sin and error,
may find him in all things
may have our hearts
placed in him
and may serve him always
in our brothers and sisters. Amen
Blessings on your week!