Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Reflection for Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent
MT 20: 17-28

In this season, life can sometimes seem too difficult; it requires of us a courage and dedication to work that can feel exhausting. We know this as students, faculty and staff buckling down during midterms week, preparing for the freedom and rest of Spring Break. We know this as Christians tightening our belts and making good on our Lenten promises (or at least doing our best!) two weeks into the season, preparing for the celebration and victory of Easter. Sometimes these burdens can have us asking for reminders of why we carry them, seeking some solace so small as the breath of a warm breeze or the kindly smile of a close friend.

This is part of the message of today’s readings. Jeremiah comes before the Lord incredulous that the very people he has taken pains to protect are planning his downfall. The psalmist hears “the whispers of the crowd, that frighten me from every side, as they consult together against me, plotting to take my life” (Ps 31:14). Like us, these narrators encounter struggle and difficulty, thanklessness and enmity; they pour themselves out and are met with failed plans, less-than-stellar results and obstructive criticism.

In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus has no delusions of an easy or carefree Christian life. After predicting His passion for the third time, He is asked that James and John sit at His right and left in the Kingdom. Jesus immediately asks them, “Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?”, to which they respond, “We can” (Mt 20:22). Herein lies the key to the first part of the message: an authentic Christian life takes a boldness and a grit that takes on inconveniences and challenges big and small (which surely will come) in pursuit of something greater.

But, to be sure, it is tempting to take this genuine charge of taking up our daily cross and get caught up in the grandeur, the magnitude of this mission. At its best, it is inspiring; at its worst, it is either discouraging or self-aggrandizing. Standing in the face of these latter two risks is the equal call to tenderness and humility. That is the second part of the message: that patience, meekness, mercy and joy, just as much a part of our Christian mission as “the big stuff”. Jeremiah reminds God that he “stood before you to speak in [my people’s] behalf, to turn away your wrath from them” (Jer 18:20); the psalmist’s refrain reads “save me, O Lord, in your kindness” (Ps 31:17). Sharing in these “small things” with God and other people is how we heal and are healed, and part of how we fulfill our vocation to spread Truth.

We are called to boldness and grit. We are called to tenderness and humility. As we courageously carry our burdens in pursuit of His kingdom, let us treat one another in all gentleness and mercy, serving each other and seeking intimate friendship with God.

Beau Guedry is a junior studying Biology and minoring in Philosophy and Catholic Studies.

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