Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection – September 16, 2021
Reflection for the 24th Week of Ordinary Time, Thursday, 9-16-21, Year B
Readings: 1 Tm 4:12-16, Psalm 111, Gospel Lk 7:36-50
Theme: Humility for The Sake of Others
Many times, we do not recognize the hole we have dug ourselves into. We go along each day working toward a better life adding this, obtaining that, gaining prestige through our efforts. We have the good things we desire, and it all came from our own hard work and dedication. We have earned what we have and feel we’ve finally caught up with the Joneses.
One day, we are going along enjoying the comfort of our designer-brand umbrella and walk past a desperate mother with a baby in her arms running to get out of the rain. It is slippery, cold, and wet and she risks much by exposing her baby to falling and the elements. We do not think much about her until we notice a shabby homeless man sitting off to the side get up and run after the woman. We turn to see what the man is going to do, thinking he might harm her or take her purse or some other menacing act.
As the homeless man approaches the women, he reaches and touches her on the shoulder. The woman is startled and turns to face the homeless man. As she reals back in his presence, he hands her his tattered but functional umbrella, saying, “You need this more than me, please take it.” The woman, relieved that everything is ok, accepts the man’s offer with gratitude. She was able to stop running and protect her baby with the gift of that umbrella.
As the woman goes on her way, the homeless man pulls his torn overcoat over his head and walks back to his meager belongings on the street, glad to have made someone else’s life better. We look up at our perfect umbrella and immediately feel remorse for not having done what the homeless man did.
It is easy to let our desires for a good life overshadow the real meaning of what a good life is, one that helps others and lifts them up.
St. Paul reminds Timothy, a bishop, to continue in the ways of the Lord, teaching, speaking, and living a good life as an example to others of what really matters in life. Christ, too, reminds the rich Pharisee of what really matters by recognizing that no matter what your state in life is, if you love God first and give all you have to your brother or sister, God will take care of you in the most profound way in the end. What really matters is to recognize God for who He is first, our creator, and then emulate His mercy, forgiveness, and love, without judgement or condemnation to our brothers and sisters.
To strive for a good life is not sinful, but to judge others and put ourselves first can be. Give God the glory first and then act toward others as He does to you.