Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
“…All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes, but it is the Lord who proves hearts…” Proverbs 21: 1-6, 10-13
“…The way of truth I have chosen; I have set your ordinances before me. Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart...” Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34-35, 44
“…He said to them in reply, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Luke 8: 19-21
As I prepare to work Prayer Team on the upcoming Christians Encounter Christ weekend, I find today’s readings a strong how-to message, which supports the call I received when I made my weekend in 1990. (In our area we renamed Cursillo to Christians Encounter Christ; the content is that of a Cursillo, but we follow a 3 day instead of a 4 day format.) The words “Christ is counting on you” are printed on the back of the crucifix we received at the end of the weekend, and they call us to service for Christ. We are the hands and feet of Christ; we are the heart, the smile, the hug, the voice, the ear of Christ to those who walk with us on the journey. This image really stuck with me: how would God accomplish His work on earth except through the actions of those who live here? The call to be “Christ” to others made more sense. Our Faith was enriched as we found new meaning, and now, I live in the space trying to figure out what He wants me to do. I started reading God’s Word as had been recommended, and I sought out a lot of help from published reflections. A short time later I started practicing a contemplative prayer form called Centering Prayer. Listening to God got easier with practice, using these two prayer forms.
All three of today’s readings speak to this vital work, for which we are called through the rite of Baptism. Our first reading comes from Proverbs. The Catholic Study Bible says this is the book whose “entire teaching is placed on a firm religious foundation by the principle that the ‘fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.’” Although there are 10 short wisdom statements in today’s reading, the two that stood out for me were “All the ways of a man may be right in his own eyes, but it is the Lord who proves hearts.” (Prv. 21:2) I believe the Lord proved my heart that weekend. Being Christian and Catholic has not been the same since. The second verse “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” (Prv. 21:3) Doing good works rather than denying yourself of something special is harder to do; some of us experience this practice during Lent. Our Lenten practices prepare us for those daily encounters with His people the rest of the year.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus says “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” For the Lord to call those who hear and act on God’s Word family, gives us insight into the importance He places on the work. The opportunities to “do what is right and just” are all around us in the world today. With the advancements of communication, we are instantly made aware of what is happening around us. Christ had to travel great distances to show people the Way. Our time commitment today is much less. We might send an email to our congressman to stand up for those whose rights are being ignored. Or we might travel across town to stand in support in a prayer vigil for a community who has seen too many young lives taken because of drugs. How is the Lord calling you to use your time? Before we answer, let us recall how much time Christ spent just in traveling to spread the Word of God, the Good News.
Finally today’s readings remind me of the words in one of Thomas
Merton’s prayers “…I do not see the road ahead of me…. and the fact that
I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually
doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact
please you….And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right
road though I may know nothing about it… Therefore will I trust you
always though I may seem to be lost…for you are ever with me...”
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