October 24, 2020
by Molly Mattingly
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 478

Ephesians 4:7-16
Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
Luke 13:1-9

Praying Ordinary Time

“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked [one], says the Lord,
but rather in [their] conversion that [they] may live.”
– Ezekiel 33:11

Today’s gospel acclamation verse provided a necessary reminder as I began reflecting on these readings. I read it around the same time a certain world leader tested positive for COVID-19 and a full report was released on abuse by a prominent Catholic liturgical composer. The first piece of news elicited some schadenfreude on my part (not going to lie), while the second elicited visceral disgust and moved me to tears of anger and compassion for the survivors.

And yet. God desires their conversion, Ezekiel says, that they may find life in God. God desires all of us to bear good fruit. Schadenfreude is bitter fruit. Therefore, it is for me to pray for the healing and wellbeing of all who suffer from their actions, as well as for their conversion, even as I encourage my communities to hold them accountable. It is also for me to reflect with God on what kind of fruit my own actions bear.

Perhaps this is another step in my “coming of age in faith,” a phrase I like to use and which Paul outlines in the first reading. One of my liturgical theology professors used the image of a graph. At the bottom-left corner, point 0-0, humankind started off on an upward trajectory towards divination. Almost immediately, the Fall occurred and the upward trajectory became a tangled knot. Then, Jesus showed us how to untangle the knot, and the upward trajectory continued (but it’s not done yet). This referred to humankind’s growing maturity in faith – we come of age as a people of faith, over generations and generations of knowing God in the eras of our human history.

I think we are each individually on that graph, too, encountering periods when we get tied in knots, run in circles, plateau, or even dip. Hopefully we are each also growing in our capacity to “live the truth in love” and mature into “the full stature of Christ.” We need our community of faith to help us in that growth.

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