Daily Reflection
March 7th, 2008

Roc O'Connor, S.J.

Rector and Campus Ministry
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It seems to me that the basic question these scripture readings pose is: With whom do you identify?

When I was in early grade school, my family lived on Lafayette Street just down the hill and to the east of 72nd street. It was a great little neighborhood: lots of kids playing all the time. All the mothers in my part of the neighborhood warned us kids about the “bad boys” who lived down the street a bit. “Stay away from them. They’re trouble!” So, not only did we stay away from them, not only were we fascinated by what was “bad” about them, we all learned a lesson in assigning some the role of being “bad.”

We see that in the first reading. Now, I for one, am very uncomfortable with identifying with those “bad people” who are planning the downfall of the just one. I’m supposed to avoid them.

That’s the problem with Lent. It puts scripture readings out there that just beg each of us to identify with the tormentors of the just one. But, that’s not possible. I avoid those kind of folks.

I must say, however, that now that I’ve been rector of the Jesuit Community here at Creighton for six months, I keep discovering things about myself in relationship to members of the community. I see from time to time that I channel my “inner tyrant” when confronted with this or that attitude or behavior. Dang! Or, under the auspices of this first reading today, I recognize that my “inner tormentor” also plays out while “not discerning the innocent soul’s reward.”

Some of you may recall the last time I wrote, way back in January. It was about Jesus reading from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue about (key line) “send on mission those who have been crushed.” Look at today’s psalm!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the LORD delivers him.

I believe that God calls me / us to recognize the divine closeness, even when being “crushed” by the weight of my / our sinfulness. Perhaps God delivers us from pretending that we are the opposite of the “bad boys.”

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