June 22, 2021
by Eileen Wirth
Creighton University's Journalism Department - Emerita
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 372

Genesis 13:2, 5-18
Psalm 15:2-3a, 3bc-4ab, 5
Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

What If I Have Trouble Getting Better?

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the Law and the Prophets. “
- Matthew

At the end of two months of imposing on my friend Jane for rides to church due to a broken ankle, I happily informed her that she was off the hook. I was surprised by her response.

“Oh, but we’ve had so much fun,” she said.

We quickly agreed to continue carpooling, alternating driving. Eventually I became the chauffeur as we continued having “so much fun” on Saturday evenings until the pandemic closed churches. Sadly, Jane died before they reopened.

Ironically one of my most treasured friendships was rooted in doing something I hate: asking for help.

I thought about this when I meditated on Jesus’ admonition to do to others what we would have them do to us. I think the contrary also applies. We need to let others do for us what we would happily do for them. I see Jesus telling us to mutually support each other. And that’s harder than it seems.

Most of the women I know are “Marthas” who bring extra food to potlucks or bake sales just in case someone shows up empty handed. Midwestern women????? Are you kidding? We were raised to say we preferred chicken wings to breasts or thighs so our families could have their choice. It felt good to do for others what we would have others do for us if we ever gave them that chance.

Ironically, when we deprive others of the joy of giving, we risk falling into the traps of martyrdom and victimhood that lead to resentment and guilt feelings. You can tell that I speak from experience!

Above all, Jesus wants us to form healthy relationships with others. We need to play the roles of giver and receiver with equal comfort and ease. We believe that when we give, we receive, but in receiving, we give others the chance to give.

I am so thankful that Jane told me that she had had “so much fun” driving me to church because years later, when she became unable to drive, the memory of how our partnership began allowed her to accept my help more comfortably.  I doubt that she would have asked for those rides if our longtime pattern hadn’t existed.  It’s tough to overcome backgrounds like ours.  

And I know Jesus smiled as we drove to St. John’s, laughing most of the way. We were both doing to others what we would have them do for us. So take today’s admonition as an invitation to work on healthy relationships, not as just another guilt trip.

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