August 5, 2022
by Kimberly Grassmeyer
Creighton University's
click here for photo and information about the writer

Friday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 411

Nahum 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7
Psalm DEUTERONOMY 32:35CD-36AB, 39ABCD, 41
Matthew 16:24-28

Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Judging Others? Or Ourselves?

Today's first reading and responsorial Psalm set my heart and mind down a difficult path, and I worried that any words I might write in response to the death and destruction noted there would be far from generous and uplifting! Our world has long struggled with humanity at odds with one another; today is no different, with people across the globe displaced, persecuted, hungry, their faith tested, their spirits broken. I for one am more than a little saddened and angry about it. Frustrated. Powerless. I hold back and become paralyzed by the enormity of it all. 

Ahhh. Then Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel Lesson to remind us that we are NOT powerless. His words (and a treasured friend's perspective) turned my heart and mind; I was reminded of the concrete steps that Jesus asks us to take, if we want to follow him. The notion of 'losing' ourselves to 'save' our lives, is a paradox that invites us to act, every day, in his name. Love our neighbor. Welcome the stranger. Feed the hungry. Serve.

Holding back, in frustration, serves no one - not others who need our gifts, and certainly not ourselves. Rather, giving of ourselves, in love to others, provides us the blessed opportunity to experience the fullest expression of ourselves. In that way, we live in Christ, and He in us. With this idea on my heart today, I simply offered my arm to an elderly woman shuffling into the Ace Hardware store that I was departing. She was surprised but pleased by the offer, then let me know I was a blessing to her. "Oh no, Ma'am: you are a blessing to me!" And she truly was. For just a brief moment, she gave me the opportunity to lose myself in Christ today, and I was grateful for it. Let's not let death win! Let's answer Christ's call, to 'lose' our lives for his sake. Amen.   

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