Friday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 345

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.
Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters,
the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of the perseverance of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord,
because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.



In his Letter, Saint James sets the standard for civil discourse, and urges his congregation to live by it, thus setting a standard for those outside the Church. If the Inspired by the Holy Spirit cannot demonstrate patience in disagreement, no one can. 
I met a fellow once who told me he got angry at his wife every day. "Wow." I said, "How can you live that way?" I wondered how his wife could live with it.
But he had grown up in an angry household like my own, in the years after the Second World War. Many people supposed that shouting and threatening are ordinary forms of discourse. "If you meet someone who doesn't agree with you, they're not hearing you clearly so shout louder!" 
Perhaps they deal the same way with people who speak a foreign language; not understanding English is like a hearing impairment which can be overcome with more volume. In fact, when I google deafness I come up with synonyms suggesting close-mindedness, obliviousness, and stubbornness. 
Saint James urges us to practice the patience of martyred prophets and the Wise Man Job. But some of those fellows also shouted loudly, for all the good it did them. 
During this difficult era in the United States and much of the world, Christians and Catholics especially should set the standard for dialogue. We must be more willing to hear and understand, than to be heard and understood, Perhaps if we listen well today, we'll be heard tomorrow. 
We hear plenty of loud words from Jesus in the Gospels; like the Jews of his time, he didn't hesitate to engage in lively debate. But, more often than not his wisdom, rather than his volume, settled the issue, at least for his disciples if not for his opponents. 
He was silent on Calvary. He did not revile those who condemned or crucified him. He did not loudly maintain his innocence. He waited on his Father to vindicate his righteousness even if it would not come until after he had died. 
He listened to the scorn, mockery and hatred of his enemies that day; and he was heard on the Third Day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.