Psalms 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12
“While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out,
‘Blest is the womb that bore you and the breasts that nursed you!’
‘Rather, ‘ he replied, ‘blest are those who hear the word of God and keep
Today’s gospel passage is short, so short that I almost failed to hear the depth of the call being issued.
In this passage, we see a woman so overwhelmed by the glorious words and actions of Jesus, that she personalizes her glorification. As a woman, she would have been proud to bear and nurture such as he. She is in awe of him, what a hero—what a celebrity!
Jesus responds—not by rebuking her (though some might see it that way)—but by rejecting her emphasis on him, on him as a hero. Instead, he calls her to the essence of his message…“blest are those who hear the word of God and keep it.” I hear him saying don’t get caught up in worshipping me—that’s not the key. The key is listening, hearing, and acting according to God’s call.
So-o? We all know we are called to do God’s will. But how often to we get caught up in worship and glory, to the exclusion of the harder part—the listening, the hearing, and—the hardest of all—acting in concert with God’s will?
As I write this, it has been 3 weeks since the tragedies that struck the World Trade Center in New York. Echoes of that day reverberate through my consciousness and shape my world and the world of not only those within the U.S., but also around the world. It is against that horrible backdrop that I hear these words.
At this moment, then, what does it mean to me that Jesus is calling me to hear and keep God’s word? What am I called to do in response to these events? How should I respond to those who did this or to those who find this act to be one of honor? Listen…hear…act…how? With revenge and hate in my heart for those who did this? Or…?
Then, I hear the words of God…reaching across the noise and clatter of human confusion, anger, hatred, frustration, sorrow, and fear…
“…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“…love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
“…do to others as you would have them do to you.”
“…love your neighbor as your self.”
“…blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
No caveats…no ifs…no buts. The words of God are clear.
And, Jesus calls us…“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and
keep it.” How will I respond? How will you? God grant
us wisdom and strength to hear and to act according to what we know to
be true. May it be so.
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