2-13-2022 Reflection

Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson

Put out your palms or pull out a cup of tea leaves from the nearest cupboard and you set the scene for a fortune teller to go to work.  Of course, you have to add a wallet’s worth of “green” as the fee for their services.  But the latter doesn’t matter to the victim about to be taken in by false promises or ready answers.

When Jesus walked on this earth such charlatans were more available than they are today because people back then had no such advantage of the technological toys we have for detection.  No night goggles to spot the enemies of their bodies.  No books to probe the secrets of the stars and no education to know better than the crook they were paying to tell them what they want to hear.

But then they were not the potential victims that we also are of clever ad campaigns on television when it’s an election year. Or the concoctions cooked up by advertisers to persuade us to buy what they’re selling no matter what year.  No matter the product.

Hence it must have been refreshing for the people of Our Lord’s time to hear Him articulate the truths He preached to guide their life’s decisions and to put their trust in Him as God’s spokesperson.  When He spoke the simple logic of two blind persons being unable to avoid a pitfall, they nodded their heads in agreement. It was only when He caught them off guard with a statement about the wooden beam in one’s own eye that precedes any hypocritical judgment of another person’s eye splinter that they reneged on their approval of Him.  “How dare He make us uncomfortable!” they thought.

Sirach tells us today that “the fruit of a tree shows the care it has had.”  So the fruit of our good Christian living will show on our souls. The Divine Harvester will note either the care we took or the neglect we decided on when Judgment Day arrives.  Your care, manifested in your reception of the Holy Eucharist, is one reason to have optimism about your future.

It was left to Our Lord’s greatest missionary, St. Paul, who told his Corinthian community and still tells us today that our immortality is guaranteed if we strive to avoid any sin such as hypocrisy toward others. Why?  Because the sting of death is gone. Christ removed it through His victory over all sin. No fortune teller needed.

At this time of year, many people sleep under an electric blanket.  The only problem with this wonderful invention is that it is too good at what it does.  That is, an electric blanket makes a bed so warm and comfortable that on cold mornings it is very hard to get up. Some people have found that the only thing that works for them is to turn off their electric blanket so that the bed becomes much less comfortable and thus it is easier to leave their cozy spot.  Perhaps God lets us deteriorate physically in our later years so that we will be more willing to leave our ailing bodies for the unexplored future that He sets before us.  Think about it.

God love you and give you His peace.

Reading I:  Sirach 27: 4-7
Fear of the Lord will keep a person honest in business.  Otherwise his or her integrity is lost.

Reading II:  I Corinthians 15: 54-58
By humbly admitting our sins, we can persevere in doing the Lord’s work.  Paul stresses that our victory over death is due to Jesus Christ.

The Gospel:  Luke 6: 39-45
Jesus warns those who view their own sins as minor offenses and others’ sins as major ones should pay heed to the truth about themselves. The Sermon on the Plain ends with Jesus asserting that where our heart lies is the most significant factor in Godly living.