Today’s Gospel: Luke 18, 1-8 – 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It happened when I hadn’t seen three of my nieces and nephews in over a year. Picking me up from the airport, my brother and his family whisked me off to the Saturday vigil Mass in Hicksville, Ohio. (No, I’m not making this up!) Joshua who was now 4 years old, wouldn’t let go of me, stroking my cheeks over and over, until he said with the loud, enthusiastic lungs of a 4 year old, precisely at the time of silence after the first reading, “Am I DREAMING! Aunt Maha, are you really here?!” The congregation tried to maintain reverence but couldn’t help but snicker. Though embarrassed, I felt loved, so revered.
Did you notice that not once but twice in this parable, the judge’s impure heart is underscored: he neither “feared God nor respected any human being”; that is, he had no reverence. Perhaps we can conclude by contrast that, besides persistent faith, the widow’s main, hidden virtue is reverence—for God and for others.
St. John Paul says in the theology of the body that the number one virtue needed in marriage and family life is reverence, awe of the other (c.f. TOB 57). What reverence does is to help us to take a step back and see the body as a “sacrament” of the entire person, a person deserving to be revered.
As a wife and a mother, do you say to your husband and your children with the enthusiastic reverence of Joshua, “Am I dreaming—are you really here with me for a lifetime!?” Okay…perhaps it sometimes feels more like a nightmare! Take heart. Remain faithful like the persistent widow and allow reverence to well up over and over. Don’t forget the wonders of your engagement and of having given birth. Reverence is that reminder.
Do I re-vere (“to stand in awe of again”) my family? How can I re-mind (“call to mind again”) myself to re-spect (“to look again”) and re-spond (“to be moved again”) with love?
Dear Holy Spirit, fill my human spirit with persistent faith and a deep reverence for the gift of each person I encounter today, especially my husband and children. Amen.
Copyright 2016 Monica Ashour, MTS; M Hum
Monica Ashour, MTS, M Hum, Director of the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET), is author of ToB for Tots and ToB for Kids. Named by the National Catholic Register as a top speaker to teens, she is author of Theology of the Body Marriage Preparation and the Parent’s Guide to TOB for Teens: Middle School Edition. For info: www.tobet.org