My mother always said, “As you age, you become more of who you are. If you’re a complaining young woman, you’ll probably become a crabby old lady. If you’re a young girl who tattletales, you’ll become an old gossip. Or, if you’re a kind young woman, you’ll probably be a sweet old lady.” As the Psalmist wrote, “They shall bear fruit even in old age.”
Nearly twenty years ago, Dr. Mary Pipher, author of The Shelter of Each Other: Rebuilding Our Families, wrote prophetically of society’s dangerous influences on the family. She could easily have been meditating on this week’s Scriptures. She begins by referencing to prairie days when families crafted homes to protect beloved members from vicious animals, destructive storms, and the occasional robber. Pipher then makes the point that today’s world is more treacherous because the enemy is stealthily breaking and entering into our homes. Suddenly, the world of rattlesnakes, tornadoes, and Jesse James sound like the good old days.
Who is my enemy? Last Sunday, we reflected on our Christian mandate to speak against injustice. Yet in our culture, when we seek justice, the person on the other side of the issue often turns into the enemy. So, who is my enemy? The perpetrator? The person across the border? The clinic worker? The law enforcement officer? The elected official? The other political party? Our entire country is becoming dangerously divided into friends and enemies.
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus’ sermon on the plains disrupts the crowd: “Blessed are the poor, the hungry, those weeping, and those who are hated on account of the Son or Man. ... But woe to the rich, those who are filled now, those who laugh now, when all speak well of you.” The first reading from Jeremiah sets the sharp contrast: “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings ... He is like a barren bush in the desert. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD ... He is like a tree planted beside the waters ... [and] bears fruit.”
The blog on this page presents reflections on the Sunday readings through the lens of a parent/grandparent, aiding leaders of the domestic church in their vital task as “first heralds” or “first preachers” of the Good News in the home.