Daily Reflection
November 17th, 2000
Joan Howard
University College
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Second John 4-9
Psalms 119:1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18
Luke 17:26-37

It strikes me that the tone of the two readings is very different, one from the other.  Were they specifically selected to go together and if so, why?  What is the good news that joins these two readings?

In the first reading from John the tone seems to be lighter.  The words are of a gentle nature.  The reading is address to "my Lady" in reference to a sister community.  The message is a "request" to continue in the commandment of old, "Let us love one another."  We are told "this love involves our walking according to the commandments…the commandment is the way in which we should walk."  We are reminded that we should be "rooted in the teaching of Christ."  It seems to be about continuity and faithfulness.  It brings to my mind a gentle, forgiving, loving, dependable God who walks with me and whose company is a pleasure and a joy.

The second reading from Luke feels much harsher to me.  It reminds me of the "surprises" that can befall those who do not walk with the Lord.  The words have a harsh sound and bring to my mind rougher sorts of relationships.  We hear of relationships gone wrong.  We are reminded of Noah and the flood, Lot and Sodom and the destruction by fire and brimstone.  I am cautioned that such "surprises" can befall me as well.  However, these are not the only "surprises" in Luke’s gospel.  There are numerous "surprise" healings and blessings.  The characters in Luke’s gospel often seem unprepared and off guard for the goodness and the justice of God.

In my relationships with my family and my dearest friends there are always unexpected wonderful surprises.  As well there are sometimes very difficult unexpected tragedies and sorrows.  For me the good news is in the total package.  John says in the first reading, "…you must receive your reward in full."  The psalm gives me a little more direction.  Happiness lies in fidelity to the Lord.  I will only be prepared for the "surprises" if I walk with my eyes and my heart fully open to the gifts of God.  It is in the developing personal relationship with Jesus that I will recognize the wonderful surprises and be rooted in his love.

As I sit here writing, I see that the lilac bush is in bloom!  A very special gift for a November day.

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