Daily Reflection
September 30th, 2006

Andy Alexander, S.J.

University Ministry and the Collaborative Ministry Office
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Memorial of Saint Jerome
Ecclesiastes 11:9—12:8
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17
Luke 9:43b-45

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come. Ecclesiastes 11
The Son of Man is to be handed over to men. ... But they did not understand this saying. Luke 9

Today's gospel ends with the words, "they were afraid to ask him about this saying." When I read those words, I immediately recognized that I am often afraid to ask Jesus very much about his surrender of himself to be handed over - for me. Inquiring, exploring, unpacking the meaning of this saying brings me face to face with the mystery of my salvation and the mystery of my call. Too often, I think we prefer the "status quo," the way things are, even if the current state of affairs is not very pleasant, even when it is very painful.

Yet, we know that this is the heart of the "Good News." Jesus so completely entered our human life that "being handed over" was a human experience he chose not to escape. To be sure, he asked the Father three times if this cup full of human experience could be bypassed. But, with God's grace, he said "yes" to completely following our earthly path, even to death, even death on a cross. When God raised him from the dead - as the first of many - you and I were set free from the power of sin and the finality of death itself. What we fear most is our fragility. What "handicaps" us the most is how our fear of being hurt actually can paralyze us. When fear of loss, fear of diminishment, fear of any kind of dying enters our hearts, our ability to be free diminishes and can be lost. Seeing freely can allow us to choose and act freely. Hearing freely can allow us to respond freely and act courageously. Only then is self-sacrificing imitation of Jesus' surrender possible.

Dear Lord, please free my heart today. In whatever I do today, whether routine, delightful or quite challenging help me remain grateful for your acceptance of "being handed over." Help me notice the fears in my heart today. As I recognize them today, help me to smile and thank you for freeing my eyes to see. Then, free me to hear without fear. Let me walk around this week reflecting on what you are asking me to do. What surrender? What way of loving, imitating? With what specific persons? With what patience and trust? My life is in your hands, Lord. Use me well to make your Good News alive and credible in me. Otherwise, so much of what I pursue is full of "Vanity of Vanities." Thank you.
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