Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time: “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16
As followers of Christ we are called to live differently, but there is a cost to Christian life: How we order our day, the people we choose to do life with, how we treat the people in our lives we don’t choose, how we care for our bodies, how we approach our work. It will make you different, it will put a target on you, it will call for changes in every part of your life – all a result if you chose to shine your Christian light.
As humans we have this belief that freedom comes from control. If we control our lives, if we make all the decisions, if we have ultimate say we will never feel pain or loss or fear because we are only doing what we deem best. The problem is our humanity makes it so we don’t actually know best. True freedom comes in surrender to God who does know best, but that is not a popular opinion or approach. His ways are not always clear to us (or maybe even never clear to us) and yet they are the right choice. They are designed to help fulfill all our desires because God’s plan was designed specifically for us. Each and every one of us is uniquely made: there is no other person exactly like us so thinking the ways of the word that are embraced by the majority are the answer is not true. The only way we can shine the light we were made for is to deny the world, ourselves and choose God through surrender.
We have acknowledged the cost of following God. But there is another cost: if we don’t follow. Relying on ourselves, not growing in hope, trust and love will actually leave us unfulfilled. It is choosing to live with that human tendency: wanting more … constantly wondering what’s next… choosing fear as the fuel to keep going (never stop searching, you could miss out!!). This approach ultimately says I believe being human is all I seek, being broken is fine by me, and spending my given life unfulfilled is my goal. It will not give you peace, joy or true life… just death in a lot of little and big losses all your life long.
All of this in theory makes sense and yet the how is where we can get lost. The how is where the hard truly shows up. And the hard is what determines who really answers the call. And that how can be really really big and scary. This isn’t a game to win or method of life to master- this is a journey. And I have found no matter how much we desire to dive in, we have to start at the beginning of whose we are and what he is telling us.
Sometimes I find myself praying, Lord just give me a map and I will follow it. Reading today’s gospel- that is what Jesus is doing. Can you imagine that feeling of “God what do I do?” And Jesus is standing in front of you with an answer?!?! How powerful and also how many questions did the people he spoke this to have? Any set of instructions and humans are bound to have a few follow up questions. And that is where we find Jesus pointing us – choose this life and in living it you will find your way. We have His word, the mass, the sacraments and our prayer life to guide this way…just have to choose it.
This week’s resource is the Danielle Bean’s book “Manual for Women.” It is one of those books that is not complicated, but you can read it over and over again, and always find something new. It gives a perspective on how women are built and why this is useful for our collective and individual missions from the Father. While also giving access to Saints, Mary, a variety of spiritual practices, and a ton of prayers. It can help you grow more in tune with how God made you so you can build a more personal relationship with Him. It can help you if you don’t have the words for prayer and need them, and it gives you examples of who we have to walk with us in this journey. When you dive in… feel more…. fall in love more… you will find less connection in this world and it will be helpful to have those from our faith life to connect with. I was gifted the book from a Catholic women’s program I did this past summer and it has been a favorite companion ever since. It is an excellent tool in the how.
Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!
One thought on “Sunday Reflection: February 5, 2023”
Excellent words of wisdom, Jackie …love, dad
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