Daily Reflection
October 3rd, 2003
Mary Haynes Kuhlman
English Department
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Memorial of St. Francis Borgia, S.J.
Baruch 1:15-22
Psalm 79:1-2, 3-5, 8, 9
Luke 10:13-16

"O Lord, deliver us... and pardon our sins for your name's sake," sings today's Psalm.  The first reading from Baruch, one of the Apocryphal books, gives us the exiles' confession that they have not listened to God; they have disobeyed and have done evil deeds.  But do I really want to follow their example and acknowledge how I haven't listened and have sinned?  Do I really want to be delivered from my sins?

Certainly we want to be delivered from the bad things we don't choose, like grief and loss, crime and fear, confusion and disappointment.  Yes, I'd choose that kind of deliverance.  But my sins -- in that they are sinful, I have somehow chosen them. To be separated from my comfortable sinful ways threatens to involve some sacrifice.  Do I really want to be delivered? Haven't I rather enjoyed serving my other gods?

In the short Gospel passage, Jesus tells his disciples that the people of several towns have chosen their sinful ways over really listening to Him. I get the uncomfortable feeling that my 21st century American culture, like Jesus's Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum, isn't listening to Jesus and his disciples.  (The "disciples" include his early ones who wrote the Gospels, and his 21st century ones, the good people who lead us in various ways in the Church today.)

Jesus tells these disciples, "Whoever listens to you listens to me." Listening -- that can be hard. Our lives are full of noise -- like the clamor of the city, the crowds, machinery, TV, and the psychological tumult of news, schedules, projects, clients, colleagues, chatter, and even the physical background noises like pain, pleasurable sensations, weather.  Also, it's not only this American culture that doesn't hear; Jesus's teaching is either not heard or rejected and contradicted all over this sad world.

But today, with my sense of sin and sadness, I suddenly realize that in simply reading the Gospel, I am called to be among, or at least a follower of, what I just called "the good people who lead us ....in the Church today."  They are the 21st century versions of the 72 or so disciples that Jesus is sending out in today's Gospel, to be listened to or rejected in His name.  If today I can manage to ask -- truly -- to be delivered from my comfortable sins, perhaps I can speak the Gospel I've heard, in words or in my way of life

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