Wednesday, June 01, 2016

He Shows Sinners And Guides The Humble

By Beth DeCristofaro

Beloved: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. (2 Timothy2:8-9)

The scribe said to him, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying, He is One and there is no other than he. And to love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding, he said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And no one dared to ask him any more questions. (Mark 12:32-34)

Grant me, Lord, to know in the depths of my soul that Good and upright is the LORD, therefore, he shows sinners the way, He guides the humble in righteousness, and teaches the humble his way. (Psalm 25:8-9)

It’s hard for me to take criticism.  My grandmother would give us a shiny silver dollar for each “A” we made on report cards.  How disappointed I was if I didn’t get “A’s”.  And because I want people to like me, I take criticism very personally.  Sometimes I hear in criticism in just the opposite meaning of Sally Fields’ Oscar acceptance speech!  Instead, I hear:  “Oh, she doesn’t like me!  He really, really doesn’t like me!”  So it is at times it is difficult to not join in the chorus of dislike and anger sounding in the U.S. today at those we don’t agree with as if they are criticizing our precious selves.  Assumptions such as “Everyone on welfare is mooching from me.”  “People illegally crossing our borders are dangerous and will take my job.”  “All Muslims want to kill Americans.”  “Democrats / Republicans / conservatives or liberals (take your pick) will ruin our great American culture."  Like many of my fellow Americans, I want to protect myself!

However, that isn’t what Jesus’ words require.  Love, He says.  Love.  But that’s difficult in deeds, isn’t it?  Fr. Anthony deMello gave a simple illustration of how to love when he said:  “Is it possible for the rose to say, ‘I will give my fragrance to the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad?’"  Loving doesn’t condone evil but it is not violent and hateful.  Love doesn’t withhold.  In humility, I can choose to consider how my dearest friend Jesus likes me for this attitude or that action, leaning on him to guide me in righteousness.

The next protest sign I read, I will weigh it against the Psalm: “Am I, the sinner, being shown the way?”  The next Facebook post I read or joke I wish to share I must ask myself, “Am I in humility being guided in righteousness?” You and I can speak up in humility and love when hearing vile, generic assumptions about the neighbor whom God asks us to love as ourselves.  Cursillistas who know that God don’t make junk can extend the fragrance of God’s love to everyone.  

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