Daily Reflection
June 20th, 2006

Eileen Wirth

Journalism Department
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1 Kings 21:17-29
Psalm 51:3-4, 5-6ab, 11 and 16
Matthew 5:43-48

When I read today’s gospel, I found myself squirming with shame. Jesus demands that we forgive our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. I fall far short on this one. It hit me that I can still recite the names of the “mean girls” who shoved me into trees in 7th grade and didn’t invite me to their birthday parties more than 40 years ago.

Then there’s a whole catalogue of far more recent large and small grievances against others that is still hanging around my mind somewhere.

Jesus would not be pleased. It’s time to clean house. Mea culpa.

Overall, today’s readings were tough – the gospel because I fall so far short of its commands and the first reading because it is so harsh. Is God really going to punish our kids for our sins as he planned to do with Ahab? What a guilt trip!!!!!

A scripture scholar could probably explain the deeper meaning of the first reading but I’m not a scholar so I can’t interpret the passage in any way other than it sounds. Quite simply, it made me shudder. I hope God isn’t like that.

The two readings brought to mind the year that I read the Bible cover to cover as I would any other book. I wanted to find out what the Bible said as a whole and to form an overall impression of its contents. I didn’t study it or try to interpret any of it. I just read it, page-by-page, slogging through even the dullest passages.
The experience made me a Christian for life. Until then I had never appreciated how astonishing Jesus was and how radical were his demands for unconditional love such as we find in today’s gospel. His vision was mind-blowing and his orders clear. Now if I can just figure out a way to follow Him!!!! Maybe it starts with forgiving Cheryl, Julie, Annette, Candy, Mary and rest of the 7th grade gang.

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