Monday, February 29, 2016

Lent 2016, Day 17

From my Loyola Press morning devotional to-day:


This Lent, fast by listening to others;
pray by opening your hearts to them;
and give alms by holding your hands out to them.



O send out your light and your truth;
            let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
            and to your dwelling.
Psalm 43:3


On his trip to Africa in November 2015, Pope Francis spoke to the young people of Kenya, warning them of the evils of tribalism, the temptation to value one’s own cultural prejudices at the expense of others. He called for the young people to be open to all who live within their country. Overcoming tribalism is something “we do with our ear: listening to others; with our heart: being open to others; and with our hands: holding out a hand to others.” (Address to the Young People of Kenya, 27 November 2015).

In the Gospel reading from Luke 4:24‒30, Jesus confronts the same attitudes when speaking to the people of Galilee who saw themselves as superior to others who did not share their faith. Jesus points to the example of the Old Testament prophets Elijah and Elisha in 2 Kings. These prophets lived among the faithful, but when they performed miracles it was for a Gentile widow and a Syrian general. God’s grace is not limited to a chosen few. Jesus’ example enraged the people, and they did their best to throw Jesus off a cliff. “But he passed through the midst of them and went on his way” (Luke 4:30).

Whether it is called tribalism or exceptionalism, the temptation to narrow our focus to claim the grace of God for ourselves and deny it to those who make us uncomfortable is universal. This temptation is especially strong during times of stress and unrest. We are tempted to ask God to extend his mercy to us and to deny it to others. So it is a great Lenten practice to humbly listen to others, open our hearts to them, and hold out our hands to one another.

So Good You are, heavenly Father, so knowing and wise. Thank You again for letting me hear exactly what I need to hear - no more and no less - just like what the Oracle told Neo.
I praise You for Your glory! Hosanna in the highest! 


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