Daily Reflection – Sep 6, 2016
Tuesday 6 September 2016
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11
The Lord takes delight in his people
Psalm 149:1-6, 9
Gospel Reading: Luke 6:12-19
Today’s Note: Tuesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus departed to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night in prayer to God.
When day came, he called his disciples to himself,
and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:
Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew,
James, John, Philip, Bartholomew,
Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus,
Simon who was called a Zealot,
and Judas the son of James,
and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground.
A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people
from all Judea and Jerusalem
and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon
came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases;
and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured.
Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him
because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Brother goes to court against brother? (1 Corinthians 6:6)
In his book Ah, But Your Land Is Beautiful, South African novelist Alan Paton tells a story about reconciliation that hits very close to home for his readers. In the story, a black pastor named Isaiah Buti comes to a white man, Chief Justice Olivier, to ask for help.
Because of recent acts of discrimination and exclusion, Buti’s church members have grown furious at white people. Would the well-respected judge come to their Holy Thursday service and wash the feet of Martha Fortuin, a woman who had spent thirty years working as his servant? A kind man, Judge Olivier agrees.
On the appointed night, Olivier came forward and knelt at Martha’s feet with a towel and washbasin. Then he “took both her feet in his hands with gentleness, for they were no doubt tired from much serving, and he kissed them both. Then Martha Fortuin, and many others . . . fell a-weeping in that holy place.” Everyone was touched by his gesture, so much so that the tense, angry atmosphere in the church dissipated, and the people were moved to forgiveness and reconciliation.
Olivier knew that a judge’s gavel, while capable of bringing justice, rarely brings healing. His court could do only so much to resolve the divisions and conflicts that had been building. Only personal acts of humility and encounter could do that. In a similar way, St. Paul told the Corinthian believers that before resorting to the city’s court system, they should first try to work out their conflicts as brothers and sisters.
God wants all of us to try to settle our disputes personally and with the same humility that Judge Olivier showed. It’s not always easy. We can be quick to condemn someone who has hurt us; we can nurse our wounds and become mired in bitterness; we can retaliate and continue the cycle of pain and division. Or we can upend everything by a simple act of humility.
Like Judge Olivier, try starting on your knees. Whether literally, in prayer, or figuratively, by offering an apology, take the position of humility and love. Even if it’s just one small step, make it. Sometimes, that’s all it takes.
“Jesus, teach me to choose peace rather than conflict.”