LETTER TO SINEAD AND MARK; Nov. 11th, 2012. 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
(Sinead and Mark are two young adults.)
DEAR SINEAD AND MARK,
It’s a cold and November kind of day, these days. We’re getting nearer to the turn of the days, when the light increases, and the days begin to get longer. It’s only 40 days until the 21st of December, the winter solstice, and a few days later we will be celebrating the coming of The Light into the world, Jesus himself who said of himself ‘I am the light of the world!’. In dark times, we hang on to hope of brighter days and a brighter life.
A Question: is your Tommy Hilfiger outfit genuine? Are your Adidas shoes the real thing? Is your O’Neill outfit all that it appears? I hope so, to all of the above. But, how do you know what’s genuine, and what’s fake? There’s a lot of counterfeit making the rounds, and it’s important to closely examine whatever is offered to us,- and not only clothes, shoes, gear, etc. but people too, and especially the ones who seem to be on a pedestal, whether in the church or in society.
Well, that’s partly what this weekend is about, on this weekend of Nov. 11th, the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are invited to reflect on a story in St. Mark’s Gospel, ,- Mark Chapter 12, verses 38-44. Jesus is visiting the Temple in Jerusalem for the very last time, -on the Tuesday before his Passion began. He won’t be back again. So, he sits and watches the goings and the comings of people. Then, in the tiny story we hear today, we meet some people who are all show, all bluff, hollow inside, full of pretence, with their hearts far from God. And then we meet one little woman who was genuine, who had very little of this world’s goods, who was a widow woman,- and whose heart was made of gold,- for she gave her last cent (we call it ‘the widow’s mite‘) as an offering to God in the Temple, -she gave away her lunch money for that day, all that she had left, to the God she loved. She gave, and she trusted. (And note that this story is placed right before Jesus begins the days of his Passion, when he would do just the same,- give everything, on the Cross. The widow woman is an example placed before us, today’s disciples of Jesus.)
Do you meet people like those in your lives? People, even religious ones sometime, who are not genuine, who are all show and bluster, but hollow inside. Well, maybe it’s not fair to judge them completely, because we ourselves, every one of us, are at times not really genuine, not the real thing. We talk the talk, but don’t always walk the walk.
And do you meet others in your life who, you feel, are the real thing, are genuine,- their words and actions match. They might not be well off, but they give so much, of their time, interest, energy, care, thoughtfulness, and love. They are involved with people, with their neighbours, with those around them, with companions at school or at work,- they treat people properly and well. Their prayers are matched by their living. There are lots and lots of such people around us, every day. Maybe your own parents or relations fit this picture! Thank God for them.
So, is it Sham or is it Real? Or maybe we should ask ourselves, am I sometimes Sham, and sometimes Real? I think we can all answer Yes to that one. And so, when I point the finger at someone else, I will stop and notice the other three fingers pointing back at myself! Just try pointing your finger now, and see what it looks like. It might hurt, but it’s also good to do it.
Have a wonderfull and ‘real’ week! And be gentle with yourself , – and with others too. None of us is perfect. So, be kind and forgiving,- even of the other (sometimes) hypocrites like ourselves.
Thank God for wonderful people! We’re all of us unfinished masterpieces! God is hard at work in the hearts of all of us. Make room.
Your response, comments, questions or suggestions would be most welcome.