Aug 31 2020 Reflection
Monday 31 August 2020
First Reading: 1 COR 2:1-5
Lord, I love your commands.
PS 119:97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102
Gospel Reading: LK 4:16-30
Today’s Note: Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll,
he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
“Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”
And all spoke highly of him
and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”
He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb,
‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place
the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”
And he said,
“Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place.
Indeed, I tell you,
there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah
when the sky was closed for three and a half years
and a severe famine spread over the entire land.
It was to none of these that Elijah was sent,
but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon.
Not with persuasive words of wisdom . . . (1 Corinthians 2:4)
“Out of the mouths of babes oft times come gems.” So goes the old proverb. The pure-hearted perspective of children, along with their lack of inhibition, can often bring rare clarity to complicated situations. Children don’t “know” very much by worldly standards, and that can be a blessing, for their simplicity can lead us sophisticated adults to God.
Think about the heartfelt “I love you” coming from a young toddler. Or think about how easy it is for young children to become friends and show affection to each other. Such simple innocence has a way of boiling things down to their most important elements—and softening our hearts in the process.
This might help us understand St. Paul’s words to the Christians in Corinth. The Corinthians were so taken with the brilliant words of different apostles—including Paul himself—that they began to split into factions based on whomever they favored. But Paul never wanted to gain a following for himself. All he wanted to do was preach the simple gospel message of a humble man who turned out to be the Lord of all creation. No matter how much theology or philosophy Paul knew, it didn’t mean much if it didn’t lead people to “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
This is exactly how Jesus himself lived. He made it a point to call simple, unsophisticated people to be his disciples, not just the wealthy and influential. He honored the widow who placed her last two coins in the Temple collection box (Luke 21:1-4). And he warned his followers, “Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Jesus identified not with the worldly wise but with the “least ones” (25:45).
Today, try to take a step in the direction of simplicity. Think of someone you know who manifests a humble, childlike faith. What is it about that person that attracts you? Their sense of trust? Their quickness to forgive? Their ability to listen patiently? Let whatever it is inspire you—and tell the Lord it’s something you want too.
“Jesus, teach me how to be simple like you.”