Monthly Scripture Reflection
“You are lacking in one thing.”
Autumn. The time is here for clean out, straighten up, bring out warmer clothes, prepare for cooler weather. It is also a good time to take stock of our lives. The October readings will help.
The first week concentrates on marriage—the how and why it was instituted. Notice the words Genesis used: “fitting,” “lawful,” “from the beginning.” Too legalistic? See the other words: “It is not good for man to be alone,” “suitable partner,” “joined together,” “one flesh.” How are we married couples suitably helping each other to grow? How are we others helping others, “our brothers,” to thrive? Do any of us “accept the kingdom of God like a child”?
The second week we are asked to see if our values are in the right place. We all “pray” and “plead” for what we think we need. In the long run we might be surprised to learn that it is “prudence” and “the Spirit of Wisdom” that are the “good things that come to me in [Wisdom’s] company,” not the riches or power or privilege we thought would make us happy. St. Paul says in Hebrews that “the word of God is living and effective” and knows “reflection and thoughts of the heart”. Are they reflective of the care for our neighbors Jesus is so keen on? Jesus in St. Mark’s Gospel spells it out bluntly: “sell what you have and give to the poor.” Those who have “given up everything for his sake will “receive 100 times more . . . eternal life in the age to come.”
Isaiah speaks of the Suffering Servant, the one who “gives his life as an offering for sin.” His suffering “shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear.” Paul explains Jesus as our “great high priest” who humanly could “sympathize with our weaknesses” and give us the confidence to “receive mercy and find grace for timely help.” Again Jesus has to tell the disciples that they have it all wrong to crave earthly glory. “Whoever wishes to be great . . . will be your servant.” How great are we in being of service to others?
Then Jeremiah comes on board with “shout for joy . . . proclaim your praise” for “the Lord has delivered his people.” He will bring us back “from the ends of the world.” “None shall stumble.” High priests chosen “from among men” represent them and had to “make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people.” But sinless Jesus was called by God to be our High Priest. His suffering was all for us.
Mark ends the month with the story of blind Bartimeus, who persisted in calling out, “Jesus, Son of David have pity on me.” Jesus complied, saying, ”Go your way, your faith has saved you.” Is our faith that strong? Are we too busy with other things for us to center on faith matters? Careful! Listen closely:
“Take courage. Jesus is calling you.”