August 13, 2019
by Mark Latta
Creighton University's Dental School
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 414

Deuteronomy 31:1-8
Deuteronomy 32:3-4AB, 7,8,9, and 12
Matthew 18:1-5,10, 12-14

Praying Ordinary Time

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Beginning Again: Talking with God

As adults, we are become the sum of all of our experiences. We have likely had periods of great joy, contentment, sadness, uncertainty, pain, anger maybe even depression. Hopefully in experiencing both extremes of our human condition we have felt and seen the hand of God in our varied experiences. Over the span of our lives, we sometimes develop, in the language of Ignatian spirituality, “disordered attachments.” These attachments might be rooted in our insecurities, our striving for money or status, or any number of things that can become a barrier to our openness to the full love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Saint Ignatius encourages us to become “indifferent” to those ideas or items that bind us and prevent us from being free to accept and receive the full measure of God’s plan for us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus relates two distinct but related messages. In the first, he exhorts his followers to become humble like children and to receive and not despise the little ones. So how can we become like our child-like selves? Children certainly experience in the context of their lives joy and sadness, happiness and pain. In general, however, in their innocence and life experience they have not had the chance to develop attachments of the kind that prevent them from fully receiving the love and grace of our Lord. This, I suggest, Jesus is asking us to become indifferent and free from the kinds of attachments in our adult lives to allow us to fully accept the love of our God.

The second message from Jesus is embedded in the parable of the shepherd rejoicing in the recovery of the lost sheep. We sometimes can let the guilt of carrying the burden of our sins, our disordered attachments as it were, carry over into a kind of depression that prevents us from giving ourselves back to the Lord. Clearly Jesus shows that any sincere effort on our part to be open to the love of the Lord will be met with great joy and open arms by our heavenly Father.

Thus in the midst of whatever difficulty or challenge we might be experiencing in life, we cantake comfort and joy in the knowledge that no matter what, through Jesus we are saved; “knock and the door shall be opened.”

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