Here’s some mid-week meditation for October.
This week’s Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46
22:34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together,
22:35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.
22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”
22:37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
22:38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
22:39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:
22:42 “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.”
22:43 He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying,
22:44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”‘?
22:45 If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?”
22:46 No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
“They watched him… so that they might find fault with him.” – Luke 6:7
It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. Someone has to be vigilant, fret about slippage, catch every error in this annoying universe of imperfect people. And thank God you do it well, correcting pronunciation and grammar, criticizing dress, tone of voice, manners, food choices, and liturgical practices.
And if you’re always scowling, on the verge of apoplexy; if your heart is a little jaundiced, your language a bit blue; if people cringe when you pronounce your views—so be it. It’s the cross you have to bear, the price you pay, for having such impeccable taste, such high standards, such unerring judgments, such a fine mind. You’re the last best hope in a sea of mediocrity. You can’t fall down on the job.
Some people will object. They’ll say you’re being ridiculous, sweating the small stuff, that you’re condescending, demanding, hyper-critical, at worst cruel, at best unkind. But you’re all that’s standing between civilization and decline, so keep at it. If someone does something good, don’t let it go unpunished. If someone walks on water, take him to task for not learning to swim.
Patient and indulgent God, change my heart when it looks for faults and finds them everywhere (except in me). Spare me the burden of being the judge of the world and every error in it.
Try walking around with a child who’s going, “Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky” And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going, “Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud!” I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world – present and in awe.”
Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!
And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.
Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.
~ Mary Oliver ~