How do you check for errors in your present way of life?
Let God’s ways change us to see the needs of our Community
It’s very encouraging that God instructs Samuel to choose David as the future King: just a boy, who still had much to learn: it’s usually easier to train people who have not been formed by the world and become comfortable/ secure with fixed ideas (eg. King Saul).
It’s also true that, when we have status and power, we are less open to learning new ways. Just as God saw potential in David, so God sees potential in us: BUT, we must allow God to take away the blindness cause by our past conditioning: by family, school, society, abuse, etc.
It’s good to recall the three key influences that form the character and life of every person:
1) nature (what we are born with); 1/3 + 2) nurture (how we are raised); 1/3
3) environment (school, exposed to what? social media, the people we mix with, etc.); 1/3
Some of us are born with physical challenges. Others are raised in broken families (abuse, etc.). Others are exposed to inappropriate material before time. The reality is that all of us are ‘broken’ in some way. Usually, none have perfect parents, but they love us the best they can.
The third element, the environment, is the one area that we have a greater ability to choose.
Here, parents are also critical guides up to the age of 18 years. Beyond 18, the environment we choose is largely up to ourselves: it has a very subtle but invasive influence on us.
This is one of the reasons the Church insists that we should come to Mass every week. It’s like a reality check: connecting to an environment where we remind ourselves (and hopefully get a good homily), that there is a better way to live our lives: help us see again.
Each Mass is like a complete life-cycle meal:
Penitential: acknowledging our failings: a time to safely, be truly honest with ourselves;
Instructions: listening to the Word of God: being reminded and connecting it to our reality;
Offering ourselves: giving our successes and disappointments to God for value-adding;
Receiving: Holy Communion: a boost of trust, energy, hope, forgiveness; and
Being Sent: our purpose and mission: to love others which transforms our community.
Young people who have fallen in love, and married couples, we understand (yes, I was young once!): we know the fear of silence or absence: does she still like me? Has she got another boyfriend? Regular presence and contact is the only way to maintain a relationship.
Without regular attendance at Mass, it’s easy to lose focus, trust, and lose meaning in life. And, sadly, when we finally look for God, we are not sure where to go.
Today’s Gospel explains how we lose God: the sin against the Holy Spirit is refusing to acknowledge/ accept God’s action in our lives: truth = lie, and a lie = truth. Then we get lost.
A man was ship-wrecked and ended up on a small island; no other people. He prayed to God for a rescue. God sent a helicopter, but when they arrived, he said “I’m OK, God is going to rescue me.” Then a passing ship sees him on the shore and offers to rescue him: “no thanks, God is going to rescue me.” Finally the man died, and he asked God why his prayer went unanswered? God replied: “I sent you a helicopter and a ship, but you refused both of them!”
Today’s Gospel is similar: the Pharisees and Jewish Elders refuse to believe the miraculous return of sight to the man born blind. How about in our own lives? Do we recognise the love and kindness we receive as God’s action in our world? Or just someone being nice? Every act of love we receive originates from God. We thank the person and often forget to thank God.
Do we see potential in others? God works miracles through our disabilities. Do we SEE the disability in each other rather than work with the disability, so it becomes a positive?
A cracked water pot, after 2 years of apparent failure, spoke to the man at the river: “I’m ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.” The man said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path? That’s because I knew about your crack, and I planted seeds on your side of the path. For two years you have been watering the flowers and making our place beautiful. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”
God believes in us. But do we believe in ourselves? Let us judge our behaviour against the Law of God, rather than the behaviour of the world around us. Whenever our behaviour/ actions stop respecting our neighbour and God’s creation, then we must call it a lie; and try to change.
As we try to change, God will help us become like David: fully alive, and working for the community: he became successful and happy. Unlike King Saul, who died selfish & unhappy.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI