Reflection for Monday, May 11, 2020: 5th week in Easter.

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Shirley, Nancy
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2020-05-11
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en_US
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|Today's readings focused on love – love of false idols and love for and from a loving God. While I always think of love as a very positive (and basic) emotion, love can be negative and destructive.|The first reading tells of Paul and Barnabas.  Clearly there is no love for them in Iconium as both Gentiles and Jews plotted to attack them.  Were the words that they preached so disdainful to both groups of people?  Was the thought of a loving God or god too threatening?  Can our God only be thought of as a vengeful parent who needs gifts and sacrifices to be satisfied with us? These people were not yet ready to hear the Good News and to understand what love truly is about. The crippled man in Lystra was so different – he listened – not only with his ears but with his heart.  He heard what Paul was saying and in so doing he demonstrated his faith.  Faith that Paul could easily recognize, faith that could result in healing.  When asked to do so, this man did rise to his feet – he did not hesitate but felt the WORD and began to walk.  The crowds did not understand – they attributed this miracle to the gods – those beings whom when pleased would allow good things and when not placated would destroy and punish. This love of false idols was not based on a true loving relationship, rather on a master-subservient relationship.  The actions are not done out of love and the desire to please out of love rather out of fear of retaliation.  So, sacrifices are made to appease these false idols – to prevent negative consequences.|The message that Jesus brought them (and continues to bring us) is one of love and actions related to loving.  When we truly love someone, we want to act in a way that is pleasing, a way that brings them delight.  Our actions are not to avoid punishment or retribution – our actions are done because of the love we want to express and for the other to feel.  It is a LOVING relationship – a shared love that grows out of acts of kindness and mutual respect.  It is a love to be nourished, ever growing stronger.  The acts of kindness are not done with expectations of returns – done to demonstrate love to one we love.  As I write this, I think of how I have been loved and loved in my life.  I think of my role as parent and the pure delight of seeing one's children grow.  The many times one their acts of kindness filled my heart to overflowing and the times when their actions or words cut into my heart.  As a grandparent, this love is so easy, I can't be around my grandchildren without wanting to hug and kiss them – be in awe of the fact that they came from my children.  Even though they range from 5 years to 22 years, it still blows me away that my children are now parents and these lovely grown beings are their offspring.  WOW!|I also think of my role as a child of God – and all my foibles in being a good and loving child.  Especially now in this crisis and surreal world, I realize that this relationship with my loving Father is so vital, so essential to my very being.  Yet I know I have let the relationship not be nurtured as it should.  Instead my time is focused on getting ready for Zoom meetings with colleagues or students, having Zoom meetings, and do the follow-up necessary from the Zoom meeting.  I seem to have forgotten my Father and scheduling time with Him.  As a read and reflected on today's readings, I may be no better than the Lystrans and their wanting to pay homage through their sacrifices.  I'm so busy paying homage to all my electronic devices to keep working and not let anyone down, I let myself down and let my most important relationship be unnurtured.   I know when I open that door, my BFF will be there.  Jesus will be sitting there – He has not moved away, just waiting for me to "wake up."|Since I need to heed this message, I wanted to share:        Good, Good Father by Chris Tomlin
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University Ministry, Creighton University.
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These reflections may not be sold or used commercially without permission. Personal or parish use is permitted.
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