Scripture reflections – Sunday, October 23rd

Ex 22:20 – 26; 1Thes 1:5c-10; Mt 22:34-40

“You shall not wrong any widow or orphan.  If ever you wront them and they cry out to me; I will surely hear their cry.”

These words from the book of Exodus are an example of a common Biblical refrain.  The Lord hears the cry of the poor.  It’s a thought to which Jesus gives a new level of intensity  in another part of Matthew’s gospel – when, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, God says – “whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do to me.”

No question that the LORD hears.  How the LORD responds, however, is where we come in to the picture.  While the breath-taking miracle is always a possibility, God’s option of choice seems to be to work through us.  Even more particularly, through our choice to cooperate with divine grace.  Even in the big miracle stories – take the multiplication of the loaves and fish for example – Jesus doesn’t feed the multitudes until his disciples first do their part with the resources that they have.

Seems like a terribly inefficient system doesn’t it?  Waiting for us to recognize our responsibility to our fellow woman/man, then working with us until we see what we are called to do and giving us the strenght we need to do what good we can –  with a helping of false starts and imperfect acts of charity mixed in along the way.  Well….no point in second-guessing God. (Second-guessing the coaches and managers of our professional sports teamsis another matter, however. ) What’s crystal clear here to me is the importance of even the smallest act of generosity and sacrifice in response to Love.  Who can possibly know the transformative power we unleash when we make our feeble but earnest attempts to love like God loves?

Sojournes magazine reported last week that, according to former President Clinton, 90 percent of income gains in the last decade went to the top 10 percent of the U.S. population, and 40 percent of the increased wealth went to the top 1 percent.  As the middle class whittles away and the gap between the rich and the poor in America becomes a chasm, what cries are reaching the ears of the LORD these days, do you suppose?

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

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