|Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
" . . . in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." -- Ephesians 2:22
Today's readings speak to me of barriers overcome, unity achieved. Through Jesus, I am a beloved member of the household of God. What prevents me from feeling at home or loved? God knows that there are times when I feel neither.
God's Spirit, the Love of Jesus, will take root and live in me if I allow it. I alone build the barriers to this grace -- they are not placed there by other people. Even so, how deeply rooted is the desire to blame some one or some thing else: How I want to make it all someone else's fault! Talk about a barrier! I believe I need all the help Jesus can offer in overcoming my effort to find comfort in blaming others.
It is my responsibility to respond to God's love. In today's first reading, the Ephesians are told that they have a spiritual home -- the free gift of God. All that is required is their free response to God's love. In order to respond, they must be attentive.
So must I. When I am wrapped up in myself, my wants, needs, desires or self-pity -- or when I am busy seeming to be something instead of simply being myself -- I cannot hear God's loving call. An amazing fact about this reality is how obvious it is to people around me when I am not attentive to God.
It was the end of an exhausting, frustrating work day. I was on the sofa at home, book open in my lap, and I was absorbed in my "stuff." Someone entered the room. Someone said a word or two to me. I absently responded, "Uh-huh. Uh-huh." This went on for several minutes.
Suddenly, my youngest daughter was weeping in frustration and saying to me:
"You're not even hearing what I'm saying to you!"
She was right.
Just one small example of how I turn my back on my home with God. God's love for me pours through this eight-year-old child every day. When I am aware of it and attentive, my joy is overwhelming. When I am preoccupied with myself and my self alone, nothing -- including God's love -- gets through. And anyone with half a brain can see it.
Did Jesus see in His Apostles a special talent on their part to resist self-preoccupation, for at least some of the time? Did the men named in today's Gospel seem to have the ability to get out of themselves for at least part of the time? Is that what Jesus trusted in them?
I can be truly at home in Gods household -- and help the Holy Spirit be at home in me --if I stop focusing on myself long enough to hear Jesus, my daughter, my wife, you or anyone else.
Today we honor Saints Simon and Jude: Missionaries to Syria, Mesopotamia
and Persia. Simon and Jude, Apostles, died violently for their faith.
To this day, the world holds hatred for the Truth of Jesus. So do
not fear in the midst of threats, betrayal and violence: the Holy Spirit
must be very near.
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