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Reflection - Fourth Sunday of Lent 2011

After reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians my reflection focused on the words “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.” The path to enlightenment or to find the “fruit” is challenging and not without moments of walking the path in complete darkness.  However,  the willingness to pursue truth, to be open to growth, to walk away from destructive beliefs can open doors that reveal all that is good and right for our lives.

Paul encourages us to practice living in the light.  In other words we can let the difficult times that arise in our lives to fill us with bitterness, resentment and anger or we can choose to forgive and accept and move on.  These words are easy to say or write….but it is working through these dark moments and staying with them that will lead us to the light at the end of that tunnel.  “There is a crack, a crack in everything …that’s how the light gets in, that’s how the light gets in”….words of wisdom from Leonard Cohen.  If we can awaken the goodness that is inside us, if we can accept ourselves and others will all our imperfections, we will plant seeds of growth that can spread throughout the world….small steps can get us to the top of that mountain we find so steep.

The teachings of Jesus are about cultivating love, tolerance and compassion for all creation.  And therein lies the dilemma.  We can choose to love, or not; we can choose to walk the path of righteousness, or not; we can choose to walk a mile in the other fellow’s shoes, or not.  Which path will we take?  Whom do we choose to be?

When we choose to practice loving kindness we break down barriers of injustice, barriers of greed.  Those are nice thoughts and easy when it comes to our friends and those we admire.  However, and here is the challenge: Jesus loves the unlovable; He seeks justice for all of creation; and His message of peace and tolerance is for the whole world…the world of the Muslims, the world of the Buddhists, the world of the Christians, the world of the Hindus, the world of color, the world of gay, the world of straight, the world of the homeless.    So how does one learn to love what we don’t want to love?  How does one love someone who has rejected or insulted us?   Pema Chodron, author of “The Places That Scare You”, tells us that “choosing to cultivate love rather than anger might be what it will take to save the planet from extinction.” Maybe it is as easy as asking ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” If we can make that question our mantra, and if we are willing to be honest with ourselves, the answer is as clear and refreshing as a drink of cold spring water after a long, arduous hike through dark, difficult trails.     It may not be the easy answer and it may take tremendous courage to follow that path of truth, but it will set us free. 

— Lynne-Marie Hickey, PBVM Associate




A young gay woman reaches out to you because her parents have rejected her.  You have been close friends with her parents for years and they are angry with you for your acceptance of her. You feel you are losing their friendship.  What will you do?



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