September 22, 2020
by Michael Kavan
Creighton University School of Medicine
click here for photo and information about the writer

Tuesday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 450

Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Psalm 119:1, 27, 30, 34, 35, 44
Luke 8:19-21

Praying Ordinary Time

In today’s first reading from Proverbs, we are reminded about living life wisely. A broad set of sayings that are attributed to Solomon are provided and include doing what is right and just, being humble, being diligent, being honest, the value of taking instruction, and so forth. Oh, the wisdom of Solomon! Although all provide great advice, the final saying in today’s reading seems most relevant to our times: “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard.” We live in troubling times with the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice, and the seeds of division thrown by those who should unite. Easy to get discouraged and just shut others and their opinions out. Easy to think, “It’s about me, not we.” Yes, easy, but not right. We are reminded of the importance of hearing, of listening, of understanding those in need. This is a time in which we need to get beyond the narcissism and focus on understanding those who are suffering. Once we empathize with those who are suffering, what next?

Our second reading from Luke provides insight. Jesus is in a crowd when he is told that his mother and brothers are outside and trying to see him. He responds by saying, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” Now, Jesus is not negating the importance of his family, but instead Is likely emphasizing a new set of relationships found in Christ. The basis of these relationships is hearing God’s words and taking action on them. Those who do so are his family. So, we not only hear the cry of the poor, but we do something about it. What we do is up to us, but I have to believe it means more than just reflecting on the suffering of the poor. It means doing things to alleviate the suffering. It means taking action that is “right and just.” ┬áPossibly spending time with those needing companionship and understanding, donating to an agency that provides necessary services to those in need, getting out to vote for candidates whose platforms reflect the teachings of Jesus. Just suggestions. And if we are still struggling to determine how best to act on the word of God, there Is no better model than Jesus himself. .

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