Think about those times in your life when you have felt inspired to something really great. Where does that inspiration come from?
The Holy Spirit. God inspires us to do great things with our lives.
----Matthew Kelly

Sunday, September 10, 2017

It's All About Community

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I'm so busy dealing with my own salvation that I forget about my responsibility to others. Salvation isn't just about me...it's about everyone I meet. Not just those I meet on a daily basis, but even those who may enter my life for a fleeting second.
We are called to evangelize, to spread the news of God. In today's First Reading (Ezekiel 33:7-9), I applied it in my life as meaning that if we have the opportunity to evangelize but don't say anything, we are responsible for that person not being saved. But...if we say something and that person chooses to ignore, they are accountable.
I have a co-worker whom I have seen at Mass. I mentioned to her that I didn't realize she was Catholic, and she said she wasn't; the man she is seeing is so she has been coming to Mass. (The times I have seen her, she was coming back from communion but I didn't make it a point to watch to see if she was taking the Eucharist, or if she had her arms folded.) She said she enjoys coming to Mass but doesn't understand all of it. I invited her to look into RCIA, and gave her Sister's name to call at the church office if she was interested. We were around a group of people, so I didn't want to say anything about her taking communion. I decided I would wait until I see her alone and bring it up. It also gave me time to think of how to word what I needed to say. I'm going to start by telling her that I'm not judging, just informing. That was mainly because I didn't know if she was taking communion. Last week, however, I didn't play in the choir and was sitting in the congregation when I saw her go to communion and take the Body & Blood of Christ. Now, I feel that it is imperative that I speak with her, only I haven't had time. I need to make the time to talk to her. I can't be so busy that I can't find a couple of minutes to talk to her. Am I nervous about it? Absolutely. I'm more nervous that she will say something & I won't know the right words to say back to her, but this is a discussion that needs to happen...soon.
That takes us to the Second Reading (Romans 13:8-10) and the Gospel (Matthew 18:15-20). We should love our neighbors enough to care about their salvation. Even those people we don't particularly care for deserve to be saved. I don't know about you, but being a cradle Catholic, when a Protestant friend comes up to me and spouts off Bible verses and starts talking about Jesus, I get uncomfortable. To me,  your faith is personal and is unique to each person. We don't have to say anything to evangelize...actions speak louder than words. And, as St. Francis is attributed as saying: "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." BINGO! That is exactly what I think the Readings are saying! Always be preaching. I'm so guilty of acting one way in the work place and another way at home. At work, I try to be all sunshine & roses, and by the time I get home I'm over it. My poor husband takes the brunt of it. It's not easy to preach all the time; in fact, it's quite exhausting. Jesus didn't say it would be easy, though.
In the Gospel, we're given a plan. If someone wrongs us, we are to go directly to that person. If he can't be swayed, then we get a couple of people to go back with us and try again. If that doesn't work, we get the church involved. (That had me a little puzzled, until the Deacon mentioned in RCIA that "church" meant "community".) If that doesn't work, then we make them aware of the estrangement. To me, this means that at some point you have to let go for your own sanity. If you've gone through every step you can to reconcile, then it's time to back away and continue to pray for that person. I'm not a confrontational person; in fact, I avoid it at all costs.  In reading the meditation from Magnificat, Pope Francis says that "This approach is one of sensitivity, prudence, humility, attention towards the one who committed a fault, to avoid wounding or killing the brother with words." In his Homily, Father said that he is often the last to know that someone isn't happy with him, because that person rarely comes to him and tells him. He finds out 3rd or 4th hand. When you go to that person who wronged you, you do it out of love. When you go to someone else and that person goes to another person, and so on, you may be destroying that person. As Pope Francis said, "words can kill". I am guilt of gossiping (I don't know anyone who isn't), but I do have a responsibility to stop gossip. I heard someone say that if you tell 1 person you're venting, but if you tell more than 1 person, you're gossiping. Oh, but isn't it so easy to "vent" to a few people at a time? And, couldn't it be avoided if you just went to that person and discussed the problem? Hmmmm...seems like I read that in today's Readings!
As Father summed up the Second Reading: "There is no evil in love". I had the pleasure of listening to Father Leo Patalinghug last year at our Diocesan CCW Convention. His advice is to pray for the person we don't care for. How can you dislike someone you're praying for? Good, sound advice!
I don't think the Readings are telling us to have the weight of the world on our shoulders. It's not telling us to be anxious about trying to save everyone. It is telling us to act like a Christian, be humble, sensitive, prudent, and attentive. Or, as Matthew Kelly puts it: "Be the best version of ourselves". If we do that, others will take notice and will want to emulate us. It's our responsibility to show that love and to spread the Gospel. It doesn't have to be with words; actions will do.

2 comments:

  1. Hope you are able to find the words to talk to your coworker! It's not easy to have those conversations, but if she is just acting in ignorance, she may need some help.

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  2. Loved today's readings! At our wedding the priest invited EVERYONE to communion.

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