Tuesday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
By Beth DeCristofaro
(Jesus) responded (to the Pharisees), "Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites,
as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God's commandment but cling to human tradition." He went on to say, "How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! (Mark 7:6-7)
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God, and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant, utter before you this day. May your eyes watch night and day over this temple, the place where you have decreed you shall be honored; may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place. (1 Kings 8:28-29)
For many years I worked in non-profit management. Pretty successfully too. It was not in the area of my studies, however, and I was always restless. I do recognize that there are times when I catch myself being a bit of a curmudgeon, wanting to stick to the ways “we’ve always done it”. Somehow it seems easier. Or I will say to someone “If it isn’t broken, we don’t need to fix it.” But that can also mean that if I don’t look too closely I don’t have to face up to what’s broke. Doing things only because it is tradition or because everyone around you is doing it that way is not always the way of God. It is, by its own definition, a human way.
God kept nudging me, however. God kept after me to listen and to open myself to the ways of God rather than society or of myself. David found this out as God prevented him from building a temple while Solomon was allowed to build it. And I finally did follow those nudges and returned to my vocation which is pastoral ministry and chaplaincy. In my heart I know that God made me a temple of His own Spirit but I often act as if I am the sole shaper of my own life. In fact, the first gift I received after my birth was to be welcomed into the Body of Christ through my Baptism. God made me a temple and decreed within that temple that God be honored. Solomon’s prayer celebrates the building of the Temple and the indwelling of God. His words might be ones which we say daily in gratitude and humility as God’s chosen daughters and sons.
Say the prayer of Solomon. Try something new today which will bring you face to face with God. Perhaps a work of mercy which is difficult and out of your comfort zone. Or a conscious attempt at peacemaking with someone with whom you disagree. Or a gentle, welcoming conversation which might be an evangelizing moment. Listen with the ears of your heart to someone else and hear God within.