|Ezra 6:7-8, 12,
Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
This week, many of my family members will travel to Seattle for my nephew's wedding. Though there is some anxiety in our anticipated travels due to the recent acts of terrorism in the United States, we know that it will be a wonderful family reunion as we arrive in Washington.
Today's Gospel offers a glimpse at the arrival of Jesus' family to the town where Jesus is teaching. When informed that his mother and kinspeople have arrived and wish to see him, Jesus replies, "My mother and my kinspeople are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice." We donít see Jesus rushing out to meet his family. This does not seem like a very gracious welcome to his mother and his family who traveled to see him.
However, after reflecting on this scene, it occurs to me that Jesus is perhaps expanding his welcome to all who are there - if they hear the word of God and act upon it. Rather than being exclusive of his family, perhaps Jesus is inviting all to be included into his family.
But Jesus does indicate that it is not only the hearing of God's word that makes the difference. Rather, he calls us to hear the word of God and reflect on it so that we might live it out Ė "...put it into practice," in the situations which we meet daily.
The question that I have (and perhaps many others may have) in these days and weeks following the horrendous acts of terrorism in our country is - what is God's word calling me to in response to this tragedy and time of need?
Today's passage from Ezra relates a story of perseverance of the Jews in their rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple, and eventually with the support of King Darius and royal revenue. Psalm 122 is filled with the joy of the Jewish people celebrating Jerusalem's restoration, "A city, one united whole!" Further in the psalm, the people are exhorted to, "...pray for peace...may peace be within your walls...Peace be within you."
How do I - you - all of us pray and work with perseverance for peace in the midst of recent events - not only within our walls, but also within ourselves? How are we to become a city - a country - a world, "...one united, whole?" This is what we are being called to in God's word today.
On September 11, 2001, Deepak Chopra wrote in his reflections, "...Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift in our collective soul? Isn't this an attack on civilization from without that is also from within? ...There can be no safety until the root cause is faced...It is imperative that we pray and offer solace and help to each other. But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world."
What is God calling each of us and all of us to do- to be- in response to the violence visited upon this country?
I believe that today's scripture offers us an insight as we work toward peace - "...Pray for peace ... may peace be within your walls ...peace be within you."
How can we be a city - a country - a world, "... one united whole?" Returning violence in kind will not offer peace - but will only be, "...contributing to the wounding of the world (D. Chopra)."
What does God's word call you - call me - call each and every one of us to do? Will we act as God's kinspeople in response to the call?
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