Today we listen to the readings where Jesus criticises the Pharisees for the one thing they lack that was most important of all - knowledge of God. They spoke and wrote much about God but unless he is known, God remains a distant stranger, a theory and an abstraction. Jesus also warns about seeking the approval of people before the approval of God. Here I think of a beautiful prayer of St Thomas Aquinas: 'Lord may I not desire to please or fear to displease anyone but you' (Prayer for the Wise Ordering of one's Life).
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A Time to Sift
Yesterday we reflected on how the Chinese word for crisis had the root meaning of, ‘a dangerous opportunity’. In Greek, the root of the word crisis means, ‘to sift’. This entails shaking out the excesses in order to leave only what is important. That’s precisely what a crisis does; it shakes things up until we are forced to hold onto what matters most while the rest falls away. During this time of enforced reflection we may begin to evaluate our lives through completely new eyes and be able to chart our future with the things we consider important, like family, friends and community, being given the consideration they always deserved. The moment when we stand in danger of losing something is also the time when we value it most. Just to shake hands or to give someone a hug will be a novelty when all this is over. The value of living as a community may well be appreciated like never before. Even in our darkest hour humour will always shine through. One joke spawned in the light of Covid 19 relates to an avid sports fan that was overheard saying, ‘Two weeks now and no sport on TV. I notice a lady sitting on the couch across from me. She looks nice. I think she’s my wife!’
Fr Jim Cogley