Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
October 12, 2022
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, our readings continue the theme of sincere faith versus hypocritical practices.
Paul really lets the Galatian community have it. Apparently, their behavior had slipped pretty low! Paul’s list of things to be avoided contains some shocking stuff, like orgies, bursts of fury, and drinking bouts. Sounds bad! A lot worse, I hope, than any list he might make about us if he were writing now. I wonder?
In our Gospel, Jesus lets loose on some of the Pharisees too. He points out that they practice the tiniest, visible observances so that people see them as holy. But they ignore the more important requirements of love, justice and mercy. In other words, they look good but don’t do good.
As we pray with these readings, we could try to address the small hypocrisies in our own lives – a kind of “weed the garden” approach. Surely it would help our spiritual life to get rid of anything like orgies, fury and drunkenness. But I think most of us, dear readers, are pretty much beyond that.
I prefer to take my cues from Paul’s accompanying list of virtues to be pursued: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. How obvious are these things in my life? When I rest my head on the pillow at night, are these the things I remember about my day? Have I given these gifts to others? Have I received them with gratitude?
As we read about the tithes of mint, rue and other garden herbs, the cooks among us might like to imagine life as a great bouillabaisse, perfectly seasoned for God with all the spices on Paul’s menu. What little herb do you need to add right now?
Poetry: from “Lines Scribbled on an Envelope While Riding the 104 Broadway Bus” by Madeleine L’Engle
There is too much pain
I cannot understand
I cannot pray
Here I am
and the ugly man with beery breath beside me reminds me that
it is not my prayers that waken your concern, my Lord;
my prayers, my intercessions are not to ask for your love
for all your lost and lonely ones,
your sick and sinning souls,
but mine, my love, my acceptance of your love.
Your love for the woman sticking her umbrella and her expensive
parcels into my ribs and snarling, “Why don’t you watch where
Your love for me, too, too tired to look with love,
too tired to look at Love, at you, in every person on the bus.
Expand my love, Lord, so I can help to bear the pain…
Music: The Fruits of the Spirit ~ Selah