Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Tuesday in Holy Week

A quick note about the selection of scripture passages; I am using a segment of the Gospel lesson appointed for the day in the Lectionary. There's no "agenda" behind my choices; just what I see as the heart of each passage.

Keep in mind that certain comments about the passages, such as discussing John compared to the Synoptics, suggests that someone is using their head way too much for this exercise. The intent is to discover what personal message for you, and quite possibly for you alone, can be found in the passage. If you listen with your heart, any passage of scripture will do; the text is only a tool, as is true of all scripture. It is you God cares about, not the book. The scriptures only come alive when a living being engages themselves with them.

So, tell your head to be quiet, and listen with your heart. What is God saying to you in these passages? And now that you've heard it, what are you going to do about it?

John 12:44-47

Then Jesus cried aloud: "Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world."
1. Enter the silence, quieting your mind and your heart.

2. Engage the text, listening for your word or phrase.

3. Return to the silence, meditating on your word or phrase.

4. Read the passage a second time, now listening for what God might be saying or showing you.

5. Read the passage a third time, listening for what God might be calling you to do.

6. Return to the silence, resting in God's presence.

What jumped out at me was "I do not judge."

My time of meditation on that phrase moved towards reflecting on the events of Monday. I managed the Requiem Mass, burial and reception alright, I thought. Some of my mother's family were present, and I said nothing inappropriate. I did my duty. I was feeling pretty good about not "judging" them, even though I had to grit my teeth while certain praises of my mother were voiced. If they only knew the real story.

But, was I really non-judgmental? I kept to myself, and avoided "the Greeks" (my term for that side of the family) as much as possible. The priest who officiated was an old friend, so I spent most of the reception talking with her. I intentionally sat at a table by myself, and she joined me later.

The truth of the matter is that I had judged them all. Using a bizarre form of logic, I had concluded that since they shared the same blood as my step-mother, they also should share her guilt. It wasn't so much that they excluded me; I shunned them. And when some of them began to wander over to talk with me, I excused myself, said good bye to my brother, and left.

Jesus said, "I do not judge." But, it appears that I do. Based on events that happened 45 years ago, I condemned them, and got some twisted satisfaction in feeling superior to them all.

And so I find myself condemned. Not only did I act inappropriately, I missed an opportunity for old wounds to be healed.

What can I do about it? That moment has come and gone. But, in the future, when I start feeling superior, I will strive to seek the face of Christ in those whom I am judging, and allow the light of Christ to overcome my own darkness, and give new life to my hardened heart.

Comments will be in moderation until this evening.

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