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Spiritual Reflections

Embracing humility

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Today, God’s word speaks to us through Sirach and the Lucan Jesus -- and the theme of this word is humility. “Humility” is derived from the Latin word humus or earth; the humble person has his or her feet on the ground. Levelheaded and truthful, those with humility are not the center of their own universe. Rather, they are centered on God and on others.

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Everything is sacred

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Most of us dread hearing the central words of today’s Hebrews pericope: “Do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines, he scourges every [child] he acknowledges. ... At times, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it.”

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Real prophets

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Immediately after Paul’s oft-quoted 1 Corinthians 13 pericope on the importance of integrating love into every gift of the Spirit, he encourages his community, “Strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, above all that you may prophesy” (14:1).

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By faith

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Today, the author of Hebrews sets the ambience for our worship, holding up Abraham, our father in faith, for our edification and emulation. In a mini-biography, the ancient writer reminds us of the salient moments of Abraham’s life, each one of which was made possible by faith. By faith Abraham obeyed, not knowing where he was to go; by faith he sojourned; by faith he received power; by faith he offered up Isaac. Abraham was able to be and to do all that God asked of him only because his entire life was driven and empowered by faith.

First God forgives

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Our Genesis author continues along the same road we traveled last week: pointing out personality traits in our faith ancestor that readers are expected to imitate. Two stand out today.

During a time in which set prices weren’t tagged on items for sale, one tried to obtain the object for as low a cost as possible. From an early age, one learned and practiced the art of negotiating, and Abraham demonstrates this skill.

An open-door policy

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Our sacred authors fre­quently present their readers with concrete examples of people they can imitate. They presume certain men and women through the centuries have embodied specific characteristics that set them apart as God’s followers, traits we’re expected to make our own.

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Finding God

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Where do you go when you are looking for God? Do you go to a church? Do you find God there in the si­lence among the worn pews and the scent of flowers and incense? Perhaps you find God in nature’s cathedral -- in the quiet forest, or the regal mountains, or by the sea. Some find God in between the notes of a symphony; others in the mysterious maze of a labyrinth. Others find God in the complexity of the sciences, in biology, chemistry, physics. Still others experience God’s presence in the rhythm of a well-turned phrase or in a majestic hymn.

Simplicity

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In today’s Gospel, the Lucan Jesus offers clear and concise directives to those who are to be his disciples in the world. First among these directives is the commission to go forth from the comfort of family and friends in order to bring the good news to the people and places Jesus would visit.

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In This Issue

May 22-June 4, 2015

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