Psalms 131:1, 2, 3
Today's Psalm is comforting, but the first reading and the Gospel
challenge us to live fully in Christ.
Today it speaks to me of the many who read these Reflections, including people far away from our campus and city, and, as I reflect, of all the prayerful people going to Church, reading the Bible, or otherwise connected to our faith. All over the world, dear Reader, people are reading with you these Scripture passages, praying with you for the world on this day, sharing with you this pilgrim life.
But the challenge comes as the passage from Romans goes on to recognize that we aren't some simple, cloudy, undifferentiated Unity. Paul writes about our different gifts -- for prophecy, ministry, exhortation, almsgiving, ruling, caregiving. Yes, we will do different things; at no time will we all think and act the same.
That fits so well our experiences here at Creighton and our ongoing emphasis on "diversity." Obviously the people of even this not-large university have a vast variety of gifts, interests, backgrounds, goals, needs. This semester we are especially aware of how our students and colleagues represent all of the continents (except, I presume, Antarctica) and many nations, and certainly have diverse views and religious beliefs. Paul, with his gift for exhortation, exhorts us to think, act, and serve well in all our various busy tasks and opportunities and responsibilities, and says, "Your love must be sincere."
Then we see the challenging Gospel, where Jesus answers a man's comforting notion of the Kingdom of Heaven by telling the parable of the man giving a banquet. When the host's invited guests make excuses and won't come to the dinner, he brings in "the halt and the lame" (as I remember the phrase) and then sends his servants to get more people from the "highways and by-ways" (again, I am quoting some other rendering, not the translation I am reading today.)
Thinking anew about this rather stern parable, I am struck by the "reasonable" excuses that the guests offered, the sort of excuse any of us would feel pretty safe in offering if we backed out of a previous commitment. I don't feel like going? -- Oh, I'm too busy, I have to tend to this or that, I have some new responsibility -- "please excuse me." Do I offer such excuses for not being faithful to my plan to pray, to attend Mass, to help someone, to begin or carry out a project, to be truly "sincere" in my love for my fellow pilgrims?
Today I pray to hear, recognize, and accept the invitation to the
Kingdom. I pray especially to recognize the emptiness of my reasonable
excuses, and the unreasonable fullness of God's invitation to live in the
One Body in this One Lord.
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