Reflection for the 8th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
Today’s Gospel has a number of diverse thoughts, all related to the subject of authenticity. Jesus was a master story teller, and often used hyperbole to make His point. I would like to share with you one thought that comes to me from this Gospel.
Jesus says that we must strive to be honest about who we are. A man who offers to take a person somewhere can’t do it if he doesn’t know the way. One can’t try to correct another’s vision if she can’t see to correct her own. We can’t promise fruit if the tree is dead. My Novice Directress used to tell us, (and we thought it was GREAT wisdom) “You can’t give what you don’t have.” We can forget that in the routine of daily life—both our own and that of others. What happens when we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and others, and the expected outcomes never happen? We can become disappointed with ourselves and angry at others. We might give up our dreams; we can diminish another by pointing out his or her inherent weaknesses while trying to cover up our own. Worse yet, we might throw away the opportunity to grow into the person God expects us to be. In the end, the house we tried to build gets washed away for lack of a foundation—or authenticity.
Self-knowledge is far more important than we think and harder to attain than we might expect. In the daily Scripture readings at Mass for the last two weeks St. James has been telling us about the importance of being our best selves without anger, duplicity, or blindness to our own faults. None of this is to discourage us, but rather to set us anew on a course to holiness. In the process we find personal happiness as we come to realize that when we are true to ourselves we don’t have to worry about what others think of us or where we might find ourselves as we try to fool everyone into thinking we’re someone we aren’t.
Admitting our failings is not a bad thing. It places us in an attitude of complete honesty before God Who longs to heal us of everything that keeps us from Him—even in small ways. As we look toward Lent which begins this Wednesday we might consider asking daily for the clarity of vision to know ourselves inside out so we can allow God to deliver us from any trace of false advertising, as it were, regarding what lies within. The more we can admit our vulnerability and helplessness before Him, the more He is able to fill us with Himself. Conversely, the more there is of God in us, the less there will be of self-seeking, freeing us from the shadows that threaten to hide us from His loving embrace. That would be a sound Lenten practice which might prove harder (but more advantageous) than giving up sports TV or spending too much time on our cell phones.
Let us pray:
Lord God, grant me the grace this Lent to see myself as You see me. Help me to walk in the light of Your truth that reveals to me the inner workings of my own soul. Then heal me and strengthen me in all the ways that I need to be forgiven and refashioned so that people will find in me a reflection of the Trinity who dwells within me, though I scarcely knew You were here.
“With Mary, our lives continually proclaim the greatness of the Lord and the joy experienced in rendering service to Him.”

Holy Rule

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