Today’s readings call us to reflect on the way that God uses us as his instruments to touch the lives of others even when we might be unaware of it.
“See I place my words in your mouth,” God tells a frightened Jeremiah in the first reading. These words will have the power “to root up and tear down, to destroy and to demolish, to build and to plant.” Similarly, today’s Gospel shows humans sowing the seeds of God’s word.
Both readings remind us that God works through humans – even us. We are all called to this ministry but I suspect that teachers, parents and others in helping occupations are especially blessed or burdened with chances to practice it. We need to be particularly alert to opportunities to become (as St. Francis said) “instruments of peace” because we tend to forget how powerful our words and actions can be – for good or ill.
I was reminded of this at a party one night when a stranger came up to me and told me I had changed her life. I tried to pretend I had a clue as to who she was or what the momentous occasion was. It was embarrassing. Fortunately the woman reminded me that I had done some workshop somewhere and apparently met with her later, giving her advice and encouragement. Pretty standard stuff for a teacher but obviously important to the woman.
I was shaken more than flattered. I realized that I could have harmed her as easily as I had apparently helped her. What right did I have to mess with this woman’s life???? Was this a time when God has used me as an instrument to help someone even though I was oblivious to it? How often does it happen?
Today’s readings make me wonder how many times I have failed
to be such an instrument because I was tired, thoughtless, in a bad mood
etc. Am I helping or hindering the work of the Lord? What will I “sow”
today? If I at least think about my potential for being an instrument, maybe
it will improve my batting average.
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