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SUNDAY SCRIPTURES FOR JUNE 9 | Jesus taught that we must cross the boundaries that divide

God calls us sons and daughters, and Jesus claims us to be His sisters and brothers

God has been trying to teach us from the beginning of time that some choices are good for us and some are not. That wisdom, given to us by God, is meant for our good. Yet our arrogance and selfishness keep us from listening clearly to His guidance. Most of us deal with habitual sins even though we know these choices are not good for us.

We know that being selfish and self-centered is not good for us. It certainly doesn’t serve other people, but it causes us to be hardened of heart, anxious and insecure. Through generosity and self-giving, we learn that God provides for us. Yet we continue to act as if we don’t trust God for tomorrow. Many of us partake in gossip on a regular basis. We talk about each other behind backs and pretend that that doesn’t harm the unity and community God is trying to build. As the Gospel tells us for the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time, any community divided against itself cannot serve God as best it could. We don’t have to look very far to find divisions within our country, Church, families and even ourselves. Our hearts are divided between serving God and serving ourselves. Any person against himself or herself has a little or no room for God.

I’m not sure we can imagine how it must’ve felt for Jesus’ family to be standing outside the door and yet not to be acknowledged by Jesus as a special group in His life. He tries to teach us that our definition of family needs to keep expanding, so that more than just our blood relatives are included. God calls us sons and daughters, and Jesus claims us to be His sisters and brothers. If God can be that generous with us as sinners, can we follow His wisdom and start treating each other more often as ones who belong to the same family?

I’m not sure how conscious we are of this, but arrogance rules heavily in our own hearts. We clearly know what God is asking us to do, and we very often, through our choices and actions, say that we know better than God does. We make excuses so that we don’t have to follow the more difficult teachings of Jesus. We claim that every human life has dignity and value, yet we choose to honor and value some lives over others. God has declared that there is only one flock and one shepherd, yet we act as if the family of God is eternally divided. Jesus taught us that we must cross the boundaries of purity and hatred that divide societies and families. That is our call as disciples of Jesus.

Living in this part of the liturgical year that is called Ordinary Time, we will be invited to reflect upon our lives and the ordinary, mundane events of each day. Take a look at the habits and patterns of our lives. Is there a joy and excitement within us about being disciples of Jesus? If someone observed our lives, would they be drawn in by our witness of faith? Do we make living an ordinary life as a disciple of Jesus attractive? Let’s commit ourselves to follow the wisdom of God, clearly shown to us through the life of Jesus.

Father Donald Wester is pastor of All Saints Parish in St. Peters.

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