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Lectionary 343: Carpe Diem : “Seize the Moment”

February 21, 2017

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Lectionary 343: Scripture:  Feb. 22.  Sirach 4:11-19.  Psalm 119: 165,168, 171,172,174, 175.  Mark 9:38-40:

Jesus is a creative and wonderful teacher and all of us who believe in him are his disciples. Today, in Mark’s short excerpt, we have an example of Jesus’ sensible, practical wisdom as he instructs his disciples to be open to others who may be doing the same things they are doing and even performing miracles.  They seem concerned about this and maybe even jealous.  The teachable moment is now for them and Jesus tells them, “Anyone who is not against us, is for us.”

The disciples are not only the ones favored by God nor are we.  Sometimes we hold on too tightly with some of our friends and demonstrate our possessiveness.  This is a sure way of losing some of them.  Jealousy is also another trait that we have to remove  in our relationships.  As we learned yesterday, serving others and being humble like a child in what we do for others is how we know we are disciples of Jesus.  Lording it over others, controlling them, and thinking we are better is not the way Jesus points out to us.

Our call is to extend ourselves to others as Jesus did.   Beyond our friends we are called to be open to others coming into are calendars and appointments.  Sinners, good people, marginal people, the poor are to be listened to and served whenever they come for help. They are more important than our personal calendar time. Our time as disciples is to be shared.  Where am I in this more wholesome way of journeying with Jesus?  Do I play and court favorites instead of receiving with joy those who come into my life at unexpected moments?

Sirach, the grandfather in wisdom, teaches us how to relate to others with his development of wisdom in its practical down-to-earth messages.  Jesus shows us how to put such wisdom into action.  Sirach does the same as a teacher and author of wisdom culled from other nations as well as from his own.  Wholesomeness consists in how we handle the ordinary tasks of each day and how we reverence our relationships that are tried and true and those that are new.  Sirach tells us in clear terms, “He or she who loves wisdom loves life; those who seek her out win her favor.”  Sirach adds, “with her precepts wisdom puts us to the proof, until our hearts are one with her.” (paraphrase).

The Levite who wrote Psalm 119 is a marvelous poet of wisdom. Who praises God for the gift of the Torah which is filled with wisdom-instruction from God.  He composes an acrostic of 22 verses using the Hebrew alphabet to describe his relationship to the precepts, laws, words, statutes, commandments, promises, and principles of God’s rules.  This is the longest psalm in the Psalter and consists of 176 verses taking us from A to Z in its acrostic journey of love for God’s revelatory instruction.   I consider this to be a wisdom psalm and a priceless treasure.  For me this psalm is like a “home coming” found in the living presence of the God of Israel and of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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