The Big Picture
The Sunday Gospels being currently read show Jesus in a number of difficult situations. Quite simply different people come picking a fight with him. By asking nasty, tricky questions they try to ridicule him and put him down. In each situation, he deals with the questions by taking the issue to another level and transforms it into something positive. Tricky situations are part of all our lives and we can learn a skill or two from what Jesus did.
When we find ourselves in a negative or difficult situation we can be badly affected by it and become difficult and negative ourselves. All sorts of things can throw us off course: defiance from a two-year old to marriage problems, difficult neighbours to uncertainty at work. When we feel that we are being overwhelmed, we need to step back and try to see the situation at another level. One way of doing this is to stop, breathe deeply and try and imagine three different ways of dealing with the situation other than the way you normally do. It doesn’t matter how silly, outrageous or impossible those imaginings are, the very act of trying to see it differently free us from the bog of negativity. We can pray for the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to see how we can bring God’s grace and love into these dark and difficult places in our lives.
Loving God, we want our lives to be full of love, light and joy but so often we find ourselves overwhelmed by difficulties and failure, both of others and ourselves. Send us your Spirit that we may respond like Jesus with wisdom, wit and ingenuity. We ask this in his name confident that you will hear us.
Sr Kym Harris osb
Many Voices, One Spirit
How are we going to hold them altogether? We often wonder this in our families, our schools and our communities but we may not use those words. The closer we get to one another, the more we love another, the more we come to realise how different each person is. Even in the closest of families, used to doing most things together, the sensitive loving person will be amazed by the variety of personalities. How much more in our schools and communities, where people come from such different backgrounds!
Imposing conformity can seem like the easy way to unity but we all know that gives a false sense of security and eventually leads to failure. For myself, in a group struggling for unity, I try to remind myself that God has made each person uniquely, that each has their own journey and loves each as passionately as he loves me. That gives me a little bit of emotional space in which I can let them be themselves, while at the same time respecting my own self. Just because I ‘listen’ to a person, doesn’t mean I have to go along with them. True love is when we can disagree, and still respect and love another.
It is difficult, and truly the only way to true community lies not in ourselves but in the Holy Spirit who unites us. God delights in difference and somehow can blend it together to make every sunrise unique, every flower, every snowflake. How much more with each of us! As we celebrate Catholic Education Week, it will be enlightening to take some time and reflect on the people in my family or classroom and ask myself what is the unique voice of each person and how the Spirit of God is speaking to me through that person.
Loving God, you delight in the differences you have created in us. Give us the openness of mind and heart to respect and listen not only to our own voice but also to that of the people around us.
Sr Kym Harris osb