Daily Reflection – Sep 5, 2016
Monday 5 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-8
Lead me in your justice, Lord
Psalm 5:5-7, 12
Gospel Reading: Luke 6:6-11
Today’s Note: Monday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
On a certain sabbath Jesus went into the synagogue and taught,
and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
The scribes and the Pharisees watched him closely
to see if he would cure on the sabbath
so that they might discover a reason to accuse him.
But he realized their intentions
and said to the man with the withered hand,
“Come up and stand before us.”
And he rose and stood there.
Then Jesus said to them,
“I ask you, is it lawful to do good on the sabbath
rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Looking around at them all, he then said to him,
“Stretch out your hand.”
He did so and his hand was restored.
But they became enraged
and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.
…with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:8)
Paul was certainly coming down hard on the Corinthian church! Rebuking them for tolerating immorality, calling out their pride, and ordering them to expel the immoral person from their midst—is this the same person who would write a moving meditation on love just a few pages later (1 Corinthians 13)?
Yes, it is. In fact, it’s significant that Paul’s forceful rebuke comes in the same letter as his hymn to love—as well as his inspiring explanation of the eternal life Jesus has granted us (1 Corinthians 15:1-28). Paul always placed his arguments within the context of the entire gospel message of a merciful God offering his people redemption and salvation.
Paul’s aim in correcting the Corinthians’ actions was bigger than behavior modification. He wanted to open their eyes to the beauty, the glory, and the demands of the new life they had received. That life focuses on actions, but even more on attitudes and motives of the heart. It calls for kindness and forgiveness instead of resentment and revenge, for love and patience instead of frustration and anger. So he urged them to change their ways so that they could continue enjoying their relationship with God.
You may know someone who, like Paul, has a talent for speaking uncomfortable truths with compassion and love. Their words draw you beyond simply reconsidering your actions; they offer you a vision of what your “corrected” life can look like. It could be a church leader who shapes the focus of a parish, or it could be someone who speaks on a smaller scale, like a good friend or a sibling. You may not always like to hear what they say, but you know they’re right. Their sincerity in speaking the truth wins you over.
Pope Francis is a master at balancing sincerity and truth. He has no problem calling out hypocrisy or greed and has done it often. But he is also very compassionate to people who are lost, suffering, or questioning.
Isn’t it a blessing to have people in your life who love you enough to speak difficult truths to you, and to do it with kindness?
“Holy Spirit, thank you for the people you have put in my life to help me live out my faith.”