Daily Reflection
January 22nd, 2000
Tom Purcell
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1 Samuel 1:1-4, 11-12, 19, 23-27
Psalms 80:2-3, 5-7
Mark 3:20-21

Two different themes, both related to passion, speak to me from today's readings:

David grieves mightily for his king and friend.  Killed in battle, they have paid the ultimate price for their people.  I am struck by this passage because I am almost finished reading Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation," his story about my parents' generation and their sacrifices and accomplishments during and since World War II.  David and Saul were once close, then enemies.  Yet David grieves.  Did David understand what Saul had meant to the Israelites?  I think it is hard for us to avoid the myopia that is everyday life and take the longer view of people and events and how they shape us.  David grieves; Brokaw offers perspective.  Both of them respond with passion to a situation which moves them.
Can we grieve for our enemies?  Can we appreciate the sacrifice of those who made our current life possible?  Are we blinded by our own interests and our self-centeredness?  Is our faith strong enough to allow us to truly grieve for our enemies because they too are children of God?  Is our love strong enough to feel genuine gratitude to people we have never met whose unselfishness and dedication helped shape our modern world? 

Roll the time clock forward almost a thousand years.  Jesus is just starting His ministry.  He is healing sick, gathering disciples and apostles.  Wherever He goes crowds form.  His family is concerned because He can't eat.  He is so consumed by the passion of His message that His family thinks He fails to care for Himself.  I see Jesus as being aware of His hunger, yet not responding to it at the time when His family thinks He should.  He was engrossed in what He was doing, yet fully aware of what He was sacrificing at that moment.

I think we should ask ourselves from this passage what engrosses us?  What engages us so fully that time passes and we are oblivious to bodily needs?  Are we able to be aware of our needs and temptations and yet react from a detached, higher calling, as did Jesus?  Jesus was fully aware of His hunger, yet He was fully able to continue with the passion of His message and ministry.  I think He calls us to pray for that passion in our own lives.  He sent the Holy Spirit to kindle fire 
in our hearts.  This is the passion that endures, the one that Jesus had when the crowds gathered around Him almost 2000 years ago.  This passion is not based on our physical selves, but on our spirits.  To me this is the passion that is not blind, but is chosen by surrendering ourselves to the will of God.

And so, I close by praying for the faith to truly grieve for my enemies, for love to appreciate those who have gone before me and made my life easier by their sacrifices, and to feel and act with true passion by surrendering myself to God's will.

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