Come and See!
Brief reflections on the week’s Scripture readings,
For the Week of January 23rd, 2022.
“Brothers and sisters: As a body is one though it has many parts,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…
all given to drink of one Spirit.…
Pondering the Word …
How do you define the Body of Christ? Are there boundaries or limitations as to “who or what is in, who or what is out” when you think of Christ -- not Jesus – the Christ? How wide or narrow is your view? Paul puts a limit in that he says one needs to be “baptized” into the one Spirit.
We hear in the Old Testament reading today from Nehemiah a lovely story of the priests consoling the children of Israel after the exile, encouraging them to celebrate God’s blessings and not to dwell on their sinfulness. Except this is also the beginning of a time of ethnic cleansing, the driving out of foreign wives and children and anyone whose lineage may have been tainted by the years in exile. The law, which has been for the most part lost during captivity, is now to be enforced with a vengeance. It’s so convenient, isn’t it? If I exclude them, then I don’t have to feel their suffering.
In these days of heightened tensions, with disagreements and debates about who’s in and who’s out—nationally and all the way down to local religious congregations -- each of us should ask ourselves these questions: “Who do I exclude from the Body of Christ?” “Who would Christ exclude?”
Living the Word…
I have made the joke that I believe everyone is part of the Universal Body of Christ. Just don’t ask me to say what part I think they are! Even by saying that, I know I am missing the point, but hey, I’m human!
If you are up for a challenge to learn more and expand your vision of “The Christ” and what that word really means, The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr would be a good place to start. I am rereading it right now. His writing is more accessible on this subject than say, is de Chardin, Thomas Merton, or Ilia Delio, but it will challenge you to think differently.
During these difficult days, we may be inclined to hunker down with our
well-worn faith images and beliefs; indeed, many of them provide great
comfort. But we also need to consider if God is asking us in the time of
change to broaden our horizons, to go outside our comfort zone, to open our
minds and hearts to the universal call of Christ.
Mon, Jan 24: “Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness…” (Mk 3:22-30)
Jesus is sticking to the scribes. He says if you attribute to Satan what is actually of God, you’re cooked. I think of judgments being leveled within religions these days and wonder: Do any of us know enough of God to make the accusation the scribes make? Reflection/Provision: Consider this in light of an informed conscience, not based on what someone else tells you to believe. Refrain from judgment of others, but make good judgments for yourself.
Tue, Jan 25:
Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard what evil things he has done to your
Wed, Jan 26:
“Some seed fell on the path…other seed fell on rocky ground… some fell among
“Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” He also told them, “Take care
what you hear.”
Fri, Jan 28:
One evening David rose from his siesta and strolled about on the roof of the
palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing, who was very beautiful.
(2 Sm 11:1-10, 13-17)|
Sat, Jan 29: Nathan said to David: “You are the man! David said, “I have sinned against the LORD.” (2 Sm 12:1-17) Aside from my ongoing beef with David’s plea for mercy in Psalm 51: “against only God I have sinned” --what about Uriah, Bathsheba, and her child?! -- I wonder how long it would have taken him to realize his sin if Nathan hadn’t been there to point it out. At least David has the wisdom to listen to Nathan. How many other leaders of Israel ignored the prophets God sent to them? Reflection/Provision: We don’t like to have someone point out where we are coming up short, particularly given that the prophets we encounter are sinful themselves. And yet, St. Paul reminds us in his letters of the responsibility to hold others to higher standards, even while admitting his own faults. Try to listen with an open mind and heart to the prophets in your life, and pray for the Spirit’s guidance when you are called to be a prophet for someone else.
We hope you enjoy "Come and See!" and we welcome your input. Please contact Elaine Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions, comments, and responses.
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© 2021, Elaine H. Ireland.