Daily Reflection
February 18th, 2006

Cathy Weiss Pedersen

Campus Ministry
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James 3:1-10
Psalm 12:2-3, 4-5, 7-8
Mark 9:2-13

Recently, I attended an interesting discussion led by our Campus Ministry interns with a group of students gathered during our Founders Week ‘Faith and Pasta’ supper. The topic focused on the Ignatian mission as lived and experienced by the students at Creighton. The students discussed their level of awareness of the mission, where they experienced it in the academic and everyday life at Creighton, as well as where they might want to see the mission more evidenced/lived out in the Creighton community.

Today’s reading from James centers around a similar theme. Though a very short letter, James is very direct in his challenge to live out the words of the Gospel…emphasizing that believing is important, but that it must be evidenced in one’s everyday life. The passage today emphasizes that if our words do not reflect the teachings of Jesus, that we, in fact, do more harm than good, in proclaiming our belief in God. James is very clear that our tongue (words) can be ‘… a restless evil, full of deadly poison…with it we bless God, and with it we curse men and women who are made in the likeness of God.”

The psalmist laments that ‘faithfulness has vanished from among the people…Everyone speaks falsehood to his/her neighbor; with smooth lips they speak, and double heart.”

Not a very pretty picture of faithfulness or covenant being lived out! And when this disconnect happens, we cannot be witnesses of the God of Love.

In Mark, Jesus charges James, John and Peter to not tell anyone about their experience of Jesus being transfigured with Moses and Elijah, and God declaring that “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Actually Peter, James and John are not only overwhelmed with what they have just experienced, but also are questioning what Jesus means by waiting for the ‘…son of man to rise from the dead’. Needless to say, they were no way near ready to share this news…they had much to experience and reflect upon before proclaiming this event to others.

Upon first reading of today’s scriptures, it seemed as if the underlying message was to not speak…there is a danger in opening one’s mouth. Obviously, after additional reflection, some further reading in context and hopefully opening to the Spirit’s guidance, it became apparent that the message is NOT to be silent, but rather to speak with the Spirit of God.

It isn’t enough to read the words, nod our assent and say we believe. It is important to step back, ascertain what the real message of the scriptures mean today, and then live out their message in our actions and words…listening to God’s Spirit as guide.

I am reminded of I Corinthians, 13: “…If I speak with the tongues of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging symbol.” I pray that I may open myself to God’s Spirit in order to listen to and reflect on how God is present before speaking. Perhaps, then I may speak and act as one who is loved by God, and who realizes that I am in the presence of all who are also created in God’s image and loved deeply by God’s Spirit of Love.

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