Daily Readings Reflection for 6/13/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 365.  II Cor. 6:1-10. Psalm 98:1-4.  Matthew
5:38-42

Today’s Readings

Jesus always pushes us a step further than we wish to take. It is worth the
trip with him though it is challenging and requires patient endurance or
“sheer dogged endurance” as one translation tells us.  Our behavior
patterns are well known by others and we know them equally well, but to
change them in the light of what Jesus tells us each day requires a
listening heart and patient endurance.  Paul learned this from the passion
he had for Jesus once he heard about the Good News and became its best
salesman.  We learn much from him in the readings we hear from II
Corinthians which is a series of letters or parts of them from the master
epistle writer.

Jesus’ words force us to think beyond our normal endeavors and to put into
action some helpful behavior patterns that will help us be better
disciples.  We all need to be more patient, better listeners, and less in
control of the things we feel are ours to protect.  We are commanded today
in the Gospel to adhere to some new behavior patterns which though we have
heard them before are still in need of better attention on our part.  We
need that tough virtue called patience to accept our trials, to accept our
rejection, and to not retaliate when offended by someone’s words or
actions.  Our attitude needs to be positive and never on a competitive
getting even with someone.  Connected with this is also forgetting the past
times when someone hurt us and we cradled the hurt for years without
letting it go. It controlled us. This is tough stuff that Jesus asks of us
but it makes us truly more human.

In the Humanities Building of the University of Dayton there is a  showcase
explaining the words of great wisdom figures from the past who are showing
us what it means to be truly human.  Goethe, Aquinas, Maimonides, Flannery
O’Connor, Jane Austen, Paschal, and Dante are among those either on the
building or whose words or maxims are found in the showcase illustrating
what it means to be truly human.  It is really what Jesus is talking about
when he says no longer to offer a slap for a slap,  an eye for an eye, a
tooth for a tooth. To be truly human means to be for the follower of Christ
to be an “alter Christus” another Christ as Paul became. He summed it up
for us by saying. “For me to live is Christ.”

We beging “ordinary time” today but it is far from ordinary as we learn
from the readings for the day.  For Jesus’ followers no time is ordinary;
it is extraordinary and has the surprises of grace that come each day
without our even being aware of them.  We too are to bring the Good News of
Jesus to others in season and out of season to those we live with, those we
work with professionally, or those to whom we minister.

Jesus outlines our behavior in the Sermon on the Mount which covers most of
the situations in life that we have to face daily.  Chapters 5-7 of Matthew
are a remarkable way of living that helps us to become truly wholesome than
therefore truly human.  As we reread the passage–a very short one–from
the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five verses 38-42, we may wish to center our
attention on one of the four things the Lord presents to us.  Please,
reread the passage and discover them and then with patient endurance and a
generous and courageous heart, put them or one of them into practice.
Amen.

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