Reflection for Wednesday, November 3, 2021: 31st Week of Ordinary Time.

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Braddock, Suzanne
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|Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another.|Love does no evil to the neighbor.|Love your neighbor as yourself.|As yourself?  There's the rub – do you really love yourself? How can I show compassion to others if I have none for myself? Our culture of shame and blame makes universal compassion difficult. As many have said "Compassion is never wrong."|OK, so the path seems clear but what about the details? Jesus uses two parables of preparation (planning construction of a building, preparing for battle) to indicate our starting point. How do I actually lay the foundation for showing compassion to myself and others? Jesus once again uses hyperbole to make a point:  the starting gate of the path of discipleship is to owe nothing to anyone except to love one another - hate your father mother, wife and children, even your very life if you want to be his disciple. Surely not the emotion hate, but fully release the clinging to all that is not the Christ. Oh, and yes, there's this: you must carry your cross and come after Jesus to be his disciple.|But one cross I often neglect to consider: how do I show compassion to myself ? I'm sure I can name my crosses – it seems the difficult and negative are somehow easier to recall than the many blessings of each day – but the preparation – to build a strong foundation – for showing compassion to others lies first of all in being able to show compassion to myself. As I enter my very elder years, it is too easy to review my past sins, errors, lack of virtue without considering giving equal time to those times I let God's grace manifest. The times I have welcomed the stranger, fed the hungry, forgiven an abusive relationship… and I give thanks that our gracious God has gifted me and all of us with the grace to release our death grip on all that keeps us from Him, to allow His love to flow through us to others.|Love your neighbor as yourself.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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