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Come and See!

Brief reflections on the week’s Scripture readings

Week of June 13th, 2021 - 11th SUNDAY


The Word

 

“Brothers and sisters: We are always courageous,
although we know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yet we are courageous,

and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away.
(from 2 Cor 5:6-10)

 


Pondering the Word …

If I ever get the opportunity to meet others in eternity, St. Paul is one person with whom I’d like to have a discussion. While I wouldn’t say I have a “love/hate” relationship with Paul, some of my favorite poetic words from Scripture are attributed to him, as well as some theological stances with which I disagree. This short passage contains both.

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”  Such a beautiful image!  Such a wonderful description of both the gift and the challenge of faith! In St. Augustine’s words, “Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.” The truth of these words is very real to me as there have been times in my life that I could not see a way ahead. My faith was the only thing that guided me. 

But in terms of theology, Paul’s assertion, “while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord,” contradicts all I believe about the presence of Christ in our world. Jesus told us just a week or two ago, “Behold, I am with you always even unto the end of the age.”

“Look. See. I am right here.”


Living the Word …

How could I walk by faith if I didn’t believe in Christ’s actual presence, Christ’s Holy Spirit alive in and around me every day? Days when I am lax about looking for Christ’s presence…those are the days when I can feel myself become less hopeful, more discouraged, more apathetic. Faith is not the recitation of a creed or a series of prayers or completion of certain rites and rituals. Faith is either lived in the real world, with all its uncertainty and suffering, or it is dead.  As the song goes, “Faith of our fathers (and mothers), living still.”  Changing, evolving, answering not the call of the past but of the present and future.

Make it a point today to see Christ alive in your world. Look for him in the faces of others, in your own face, in nature, in beauty, and in sorrow. Be courageous. Find him and allow him to lead you home to him, right here and right now. 


Mon, Jun 14: “…we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain…” (2 Cor 6:1-10)

 God doesn’t bestow graces to be wrapped up and put on a shelf. If you believe God bestows graces on you (and we are not talking just about skills, knowledge, health, or wealth), we are called by God to share them far and wide!

 Today’s reflection/provision: A lovely smile is a grace. A good sense of humor is a grace sorely needed today. Reflect on the graces God has given you, especially those that can’t be measured. / Go make list and start sharing!

Tues, Jun 15: The LORD protects strangers. (Ps 146)

On the news recently, a Honduran man recounted his journey north with his four-year-old son. They had just taken a step closer to being reunited with family in the US. Through the translator, he explained he had lost everything in the hurricanes last year and there were no jobs. An all-too-familiar story, but it was not his hardship that struck me. It was his comment: “Being in the United States is a dream come true.”  Tears welled in my eyes and I felt so humbled by his dream. 

Today’s reflection/provision: As I lament the sorry state of migrants today, do I remember to give thanks for what I have and that God calls me to serve and protect the stranger?
/ Do something tangible. Be welcoming to anyone you see who may be a stranger in your country. Volunteer at a center that supports migrants. Put real stories, faces, and lives on the statistics.

Wed, Jun 16: God loves a cheerful giver…God makes every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Cor 9:6-11)

There was a study done many years ago with nuns who worked in an Alzheimer’s unit. Researchers found a remarkable lack of burnout among these women and identified two common threads: none of them thought of the residents as “their” patients; and, they all saw themselves solely as a channel for God’s love. They took themselves and their egos out of the equation. They had an abundance of grace to do their good work. Cheerful givers give out of love and compassion, not obligation or guilt. But they also know they are no one’s messiah.

Today’s reflection/provision: When I give, does it drain me or give me life? Do I base my feelings on the outcome rather than the process?  / Give to someone today solely out of love, expecting no results or anything in return.

Thu, Jun 17:If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt 6:7-15) 
 

Today’s reflection/provision: This passage needs no elaboration. It means what is says. Spend time today thinking about forgiveness in your life. Our view of God’s forgiveness of us is inextricably tied to how we forgive others and vice versa.  / Don’t take this exercise lightly. This process can be difficult and painful for those who have experienced deep woundedness, especially at the hands of others. If that is you, seek out a trained spiritual director or licensed pastoral counselor to help you peel back the layers in order to reach the center – the light of God’s mercy.

Fri, Jun 18: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” (Mt 6:19-23)
Another pithy statement from Jesus that needs little explanation other than that it also requires us to look at it two ways: What is the ideal and what is the reality? We can start with the ideal—what is my treasure? We may have many lofty statements to fill in that blank. Or, we can start with reality – where is my heart right now and how well does it reflect what I say I treasure and value?

Today’s reflection/ provision: Look at the areas of your life that cause tension and see if there is a disconnect between what you say you treasure and what is in your heart? This also requires deep and honest reflection.  / Look today for synergies, when what you value is being lived out by the love in your heart. This synergy can be the source of great consolation and joy!

Sat, Jun 19: “I will boast most gladly of my weaknesses in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me…for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 5:14-21)

We circle back to Paul and his poignant description, one that led me to an amazing prayer experience: to realize it was my weaknesses that often brought me to my knees, but in both senses of that image.

Today’s reflection/provision: Are there weaknesses that always trip you up? Can you reframe your repeated stumbles into the image of being brought to your knees in prayer? (Note: serious things like addictions also require professional support.)


/ Pay attention when one of those little pain-in-the-neck thorns pops up (cuz they always do!) Say a quick prayer of gratitude for God’s power manifest in you. Your awareness of your weakness and your prayer will make God smile!
 


We hope you enjoy "Come and See!" and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at ehireland@loyola.edu with questions, comments, and responses.


© 2009 - 2020, Elaine H. Ireland - Images@FaithClipart.com


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