The reading from the Book of Wisdom kept drawing my thoughts to American politics. Two weeks ago I sat through a dinner conversation where both sides believed they had the moral high ground. There was very little listening and many condemnations for false righteousness. I realized many of my dinner companions would not make the connection between the first reading and the Psalm response. Both sets of my dinner colleagues were charged with their sense of being right. Neither felt brokenhearted, but both believed the Lord would confront the evildoers that were across the table. I went home that night feeling stressed rather than challenged by both sides.
I am blessed with two teenage sons. In many ways this helps keep me on track. I am reminded on a regular basis of my flaws and weaknesses. What keeps me humble is the fact that they are often right. I do fail to signal my turns. I could be getting more exercise. I do get obsessed with my work. My time could be better spent. My circumstances preclude my ever speaking of others’ faults with authority. If I forget about the plank in my eye, I have helpers to remind me.
I read today’s Gospel and consider how I picture Jesus. Was he like my dinner companions charged with a sense of righteousness? Was he like my teenage sons with an eager awareness of weakness? I can imagine watching Jesus from the crowd and asking the same questions presented in the Gospel. In my meditation Jesus is a good listener. He is speaking from the heart and not passing judgment. He is aware of the authorities’ concern. I see those in power viewing him as a subversive. I see them ready to quickly and without drama remove him from the scene. What bothers me is I notice that I am watching from the crowd with feelings of fear more for myself than for Him. I realize that I would be standing near the periphery ready to leave if things turned ugly. I recognize that I have very different feelings than I did with my strong-willed table mates. I wished that he would continue to be around. I realize that I am a pre-Pentecost disciple. I think ahead to next week and know how well I will fit into the part of the reading of the Passion that falls to the congregation.
My prayer today is to be a better listener. My prayer is to be less judgmental. My prayer is that I may be drawn into the experiences of Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost.
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