Thursday – Practical Reconciliation
Jesus offers us some practical advice in today's Gospel. We are to make peace with one another, to set aside our quarrels and treat each other with dignity and respect.
If we are on the way to worship God and we remember that someone is holding something against us (probably with good reason), we are to take a detour and reconcile with that person. The implication is that our worship will be less acceptable to God if we are immersed in an argument with another person. It makes sense really. How often have we gone to Mass still angry about a disagreement and found ourselves unable to concentrate or pray deeply?
Jesus continues by setting up a scenario in which we are on the way to court with an opponent over some conflict. Jesus tells us to settle that conflict on the way, to somehow work out a fair solution that will make both parties satisfied. We might wonder how to do this, but let us remember that stubbornness often lies at the heart of such conflicts. A willingness to bend a bit might be all it takes to keep such matters from getting out of hand.
Practical reconciliation, then, is what Jesus commands. We are to put aside our pride and make peace both with our neighbors and ultimately with ourselves.
Friday – The Tiny Whispering Sound
Elijah was just about at his wits' end. Pursued by the king and queen, he was hiding in a cave, waiting, he thought, for death. But God wasn't done with Elijah just yet. He had another important message for His prophet.
The Lord told Elijah to go and stand on the mountain, for He was about to pass by. Elijah obeyed. He stood there through a strong wind, through an earthquake, and through a fire. But God was not in any of these. Perhaps Elijah wondered what was going on. Had he misheard God?
Then there was a tiny whispering sound. And Elijah understood. He pulled his cloak over his face and went to stand at the mouth of the cave.
God whispers sometimes. We might expect Him to always be dramatic when He talks to us. We might look for great events and loud proclamations. And sometimes God speaks through those. But not always. Sometimes He talks to us through the little things, a whisper in our hearts perhaps, a gentle nudge, the smile of a friend, a simple prayer, a small act of caring. In these, too, God speaks of His great love.
Saturday – Set Apart
In today's first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, the Lord tells the Church at Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a special mission. They were to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and spread the Gospel far and wide.
We, too, are set apart for God's work. Each of us has a mission in God's plan. Each of us has some task to do in order to spread the Gospel. Our job is to discern that mission, to figure out where God wants us to go and what He wants us to do. And to do that we must pray. We must listen to the voice of God in our hearts and minds. We must allow God to guide us, and we must watch for signs that He is leading us in a particular direction. Then we must follow Him, trusting that He will lead us exactly where He wants us to go.