Our Ministries
02 Jul

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Take My Yoke

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.”

We are all in this together—yoked with others, carrying each other’s burdens, or at least making them easier to bear. A yoke is a wooden beam normally used between a pair of animals to enable them to pull together on a load when working in pairs. The yoke is a discipline, a way of being present, a way of cooperating, and an enormous equalizer. Are we yoked to one another? What does that look like? What are we learning about our dependency on each other? About our interdependence?

Jesus doesn’t just teach about being yoked. He also asks us to learn from him, to be meek and humble of heart. Meekness is a deliberate choice not to be greater, or stronger, or more powerful than someone else. Meekness invites us to see every person as human, just like each of us. It is up to us to open our hearts and be humble of heart. It is up to us to pull together, different as we might be—differing in status, in political affiliation, in skin tone, in religious beliefs and in values. How could meekness put an end to racial discrimination, solve the climate crisis, and end wars and conflicts?

Love makes burdens lighter. Love is a yoke—a practice of disciplined care for each other’s health, happiness, and well-being even when we feel we have nothing left to give. Who is in need of my love? How can I recognize the burdens of others and lighten the load? What can I learn from Jesus’ example of meekness?

The photo image that accompanies these words is also worthy of study. What do you see? Feel? What might be some important messages from this visual lectio divina?

26 Jun

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Of Water and Influence

What is “the cup of water” each of us needs? When do we give and when do we receive water—refreshing and cleansing, essential for existence, re-creational? What does hospitality look like, feel like in the throes of a pandemic when we are sequestered? These are the questions that stayed with me as I reflected on the Scripture readings for this weekend.

What is on your list of needs? If you are sequestered in your home with all your family members, you probably are thirsting for privacy, peace, order, more rooms in the house, higher speed internet. If you are at work, you might be thirsting for assurance that it’s a safe environment, for job security, for the teamwork you enjoyed when everyone was there. If you are out of work, thirst for financial security, opportunities for new work, perhaps job training or re-training are on your list of needs.

We are all living with much uncertainty in our personal lives. And then there are all the social sins—the injustices and inequities—we are living with—racism, no access to healthcare or inadequate healthcare, COVID-19 and the various disruptions it is causing, increased homelessness due to inability to pay rent, growing poverty, domestic violence, and abuse of every kind.

The reading from Kings tells the story of “the woman with influence” who desires to provide hospitality for the traveler who frequents her dining place. Her arranging of a little room on the roof of the house brings the promise of the birth of a child. We too have an opportunity to be women (and men) of influence in attending to the corporal works of mercy—the hungers and thirsts, the nakedness, the ignorance (lack of knowledge and understanding), the visits to the “imprisoned.”

The “cup of water” that we give can be direct assistance, study and research of the issues, or action for systemic change. The “cup of water” that we receive can be a new sense of connection, of relationship, of engagement, and of action that changes us to experience the promise of “new birth”—the birth of understanding, empathy, compassion, and relationship that we are all in this together with Christ as our center. Christ gives us the groundedness, the perspective we need to do what he has taught us to do. As disciples of Jesus, we can do no less. May we all be women and men of influence!