The Living Rite column explores what you will see, hear, taste, touch or smell while at church this weekend.
Rules, penalties, an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth; what a way to go through life. Today we hear that Christ proclaims that we now must turn the other cheek.
Wait! Why would I let someone wrong me and not retaliate, you know, make things even? Well that is what love your neighbor is all about — even to love and do good for your enemies.
As we read, watch and listen to all of the varied media resources, we are bombarded about the world situation in which we now find ourselves. Paul, in his reading for today, sees the embodiment of our individual lives as comparable to that of the community. We all have varied talents and gifts, each one of them good and worthy of dignity and respect.
If we, as Christians, are to live as the embodiment of Christ, then we must also recognize the worth of all human nature. When it rains, it rains on all; when the sun shines, it shines on all. God loves all and created all, therefore, love, by its very nature, does not allow for hatred or retaliation. What is the feeling you get when you hear about the people in today’s world situations?
So how does all of this relate to our parish communities?
Sometimes it can be hard to work with other people. Just sitting waiting for Mass to begin can cause consternation every once in a while. You go to kneel and people in the pew behind you leave the kneeler up for whatever reason. Or, your pew is full and that late straggler sits in your pew making it even more uncomfortable. Or, you reach to grab a missal only to find out they are all being used and no one has the courtesy to share. Before Mass even begins, you find yourself looking for that eye for an eye.
But what do you really know about your fellow parish families?
Maybe their growing up years were tough and not as nurturing; maybe they have encountered difficulties in their lives that have soured their outlook; maybe they have losses that have halted their ability to cope. Whatever the circumstances, they may also be looking at you with the same eyes.
What is it about you that they see and you don’t? Are you off-putting, sour, self-righteous or is it just that your hair is in disarray? Only when we abandon those judgmental pre-conceptions can we begin to love.
If we are to be the temple of God, then we must put aside our differences, offer kindness when we are offended, bite our tongues when we are insulted and most of all love them, as they are also temples of God.
Wettstein is a volunteer choir director and former director of music and liturgy at Good Shepherd Parish, Chilton.