As I read the Readings for today, the above verse jumped out at me. How many times do I look at someone and immediately make a judgment? There's a lady in my parish who used to sit a couple of rows ahead of me during Mass. I would see her look around, watching people as they came in. In my head, I could hear her make comments about them. My reaction was to think that this woman was really nosy, and more interested in people than what was going on at the altar. And then I met her and spent a little bit of time with her. I had the opportunity to see what an absolutely beautiful person she is. I saw her come into Mass Sat. evening, and I thought about my wrong first impression of her. This was before I read and heard the Readings. Even during the reading during Mass, I didn't catch it. Then, Sunday morning as I read the Readings at my kitchen table, this hit home:
Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide. (Isaiah 11:3)
It's so very easy to be swayed by someone else's opinion, and I'm the world's worst at that. We are urged to think for ourselves and not be influenced by what others think.
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another. (Romans 15: 5)
Jenna Hines wrote today's reflection for Blessed is She. The target of the reflection is to be in harmony with other people. Not to change their thoughts, just to work on yourself and let God worry about the big picture. Yesterday, during an Advent Reflection at a nearby convent, Sister mentioned that there is no need for us to worry about anything; God is in control. He knows all: He knows when we're going to mess up, and He knows how we're going to fix it. www.USCCB.org offers this explanation of that line:
[15:5] : a Greco-Roman ideal. Not rigid uniformity of thought and expression but thoughtful consideration of other people’s views finds expression here.
Isn't that perfect for right now, considering what's happening post-election?
Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. ( Matthew 3:10)
We are called to live out our lives for God. We are called to evangelize and to go out into the world and proclaim God's word, if not by our words, then by our actions. It all goes back to the question: If we were on trial for being a Christian, would we be found guilty?
For the Gospel's reflections, both ePriest and my parish priest explained that when in the desert, the Israelites learned to depend on God. When they were in the desert, they had to give all control to God. Tying the Gospel in with the other Readings, all 3 have the component of letting go and putting everything in God's hands. Man, that's difficult! There are things that go on in my life, with my adult children, that I want to control. I end up getting all stressed out about it because I think I have to be in control, when I should lift it up to God. HE's the one in control. He knows how things are going to be "fixed". When I think I have to be in control, I get physically sick to my stomach. As I learn to hand the problems up to God, I can feel that sinking feeling and the anxiety being lifted.
ePriest mentioned that John's baptism helped get rid of old attitudes and old ways of thinking. This Advent, my goal is to let go of my old attitudes and old ways of thinking I'm in control, and to LET GOD.