This week we will have to look deeply into ourselves – and even use our imaginations. As a firm foundation to all of this let us drop anchor in some words from

TODAY’S PSALM [25]. “Lord, make me know your ways … guide me in your truth, and teach me … do not remember … my transgressions … Good and upright is the Lord.

Against such thoughts we will better understand the hidden challenge of our

OLD TESTAMENT READING [EZEKIEL 18: 25 – 28]. “Hear now … is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?” In this reading I discern the conflict which so often threatens a motivated faith’s continuing battle to honestly integrate the Lord’s ways into the concrete reality of our frailties, limitations, failures and real daily pressures of living in our busy and noisy world. In this world we often find ourselves hesitating about the way to go forward. We find ourselves juggling the Lord’s truth as we know it with the prickly pears of work, business, domestic and professional demands. “Stop the world – I want to get off!

However, we need to be aware of a contrasting dimension. In a recent addition to my library I read that ”

the journey of a soul is never clear direct or final. It tests our commitment to the limit. But distracted and confused as we mostly are, the original design is never lost. It spills through the cracks of our daily distractions, but never drains away completely.{DANIEL J O’LEARYTreasured & TransformedColumba Press: Page 24} The author then quotes some words of Sheila Cassidy an English Catholic doctor and author (also a survivor of

torture in Chile during the 1970’s):

And so we must begin again,

We of the damaged bodies and assaulted minds,

Starting from scratch with the rubble of our lives

And picking up the dust

Of dreams once dreamt.

{by the way Sheila Cassidy’s book

CONFESSIONS OF A LAPSED CATHOLIC makes rivetting reading}

I did warn at the start of this reflection that with this week’s reflection we needed to think and use our imaginations. So, let us now integrate what has been said so far with our

NEW TESTAMENT READING [PHILIPPIANS 2: 1 – 11]. There we read the following – “… being in full accord and of one mind … count others better than yourselves … look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Saint Paul later adds something basic for coping with our juggling act – “Christ did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

In general terms I firmly believe that the ongoing difficulties we experience in our juggling are the direct result of our hesitation to make ourselves vulnerable to the divine. In other words we grasp too firmly our own personal views as well as our addiction to avoiding all self-confrontation.

It is now much easier to approach

OUR GOSPEL EXTRACT [MATTHEW 21: 28 – 32]. At the outset let us be aware that both sons are pictured by Jesus as people finding themselves involved with a personal juggling act – and so we are able to return to our quote from Ezekiel. “Hear now … is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

Do not overlook the dilemma the Lord presented to the chief priests and elders. They were well used to juggling but here they were faced with a direct question. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The answer they were forced to give was obvious. “They said, ‘the first’.” I suspect that there were some who realised they would end up with a prickly pear but, like ourselves sometimes, what else could they actually say or do? These Gospel verses resonate easily with the words of Ezekiel.

The fact is that very often, while we may silently regret what we publicly sided with, we fail to publicly repair the damage caused by our failure to grasp the nettle which Paul presents in our New Testament extract. “Have this mind among yourselves which was in Christ Jesus.” So we end up saying one thing and doing another.

Now we need to return to the words from our Psalm in which we dropped anchor at the start. “Lord, make me know your ways … guide me in your truth, and teach me … do not remember … my transgressions … Good and upright is the Lord.

But as Sheila Cassidy wrote we must never stop dreaming our dreams. Finally, remember our literary quotation. Distracted and confused as we mostly are, the original design is never lost. It spills through the cracks of our daily distractions, but never drains away completely. As Ezekiel says – “he shall surely live, he shall not die.

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