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UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE
GOSPEL MEDITATION - ENCOURAGE DEEPER UNDERSTANDING OF SCRIPTURE July 2, 2023 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time
As a boy my favorite board game was “Chutes and Ladders.” The players roll dice to move from the start to the finish, from the bottom of the board to the top. If you land on a chute, you slide back and down. It was a bummer. Land on a ladder, and you jump well up the board and near the goal. It was a thrill to find a ladder and draw closer to the goal. That’s life, isn’t it? At every moment, we’re either moving closer or farther from the goal of our lives. How do we win? Jesus tells us the secret of life’s chutes and ladders hinges on getting our loves rightly ordered. What we love in life is meant to be a ladder, drawing us up into God’s love — including our family, friends, work, play, food, and drink. Even to give your water to someone out of love for Christ leads to a sure reward. But those ladders of our loves can become chutes. If we love even our family members more than Christ, we slide down and back. If we love the persons and things in our life for the sake of Christ, He says we “surely will not lose our reward.” The key difference between a chute and ladder, between our spiritual regression and advancement, is our willingness to renounce everything — even our own life — for the love of Jesus. To allow everything and everyone we love to draw us to love him more — that’s the difference between chutes and ladders.
— Father John Muir ©LPi
Gracious and holy Father,
grant us the intellect to understand You,
reason to discern You, diligence to seek You,
wisdom to find You, a spirit to know You,
a heart to meditate upon You.
May our ears hear You, may our eyes behold You,
and may our tongues proclaim You.
— Prayer of St. Benedict
“Jesus said to him, I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.” — John 14:6
I consider myself to be something of a connoisseur of kitschy Catholic magnets.
Having had the good fortune, in my lifetime, to spend a considerable amount of time in the kitchens of the
elderly faithful, I’ve seen it all. The silhouette of a Rosary with the caption “Call your mother — she’s waiting to hear from you.” A nativity tableau that reads “Every family needs a stable foundation.” The classic “WWJD” — a real ecumenical gem, it’s a favorite across all denominations.
One that always irked me, though, was this: “It doesn’t matter what the question is. The answer is Jesus.”
This particular magnet adorned my grandmother’s refrigerator for years, and my sarcastic adolescent brain just couldn’t handle it.
That’s just silly, I thought. Jesus is not the answer to every question. Jesus is not, for instance, the answer to the question, ‘What should I have for lunch?’ Or the question, ‘Who is your favorite Beatle?’ Or the question, ‘Why won’t my parents buy me a car?’ But darn it all, if that magnet doesn’t pop into my head as I read the fourteenth chapter of John.
Every question has a backstory, even the little ones. Every silly, ordinary question has a larger question floating beneath the surface. What should I have for lunch? Because I am hungry. My body is tired. It needs food. It is a passing thing, a dying thing, and one day it will dry up and crumble away with the dust. Is there anything that could sustain it forever?
Who is your favorite Beatle? Because we all have opinions about this. Mine is Paul, obviously. Such a great
songwriter, and such a tireless performer, and so faithful to his fans. Gosh, I love the Beatles. Their music is great. I can’t explain why. It makes me feel ... I don’t know. Is there anything else that makes me feel the way that music does — happy in a way I can’t explain, for reasons I don’t understand?
Why won’t my parents buy me a car? Because I really want a car. I look like an idiot being dropped off at school by my dad every day like I’m 12 years old. Gosh, I care so much what other people think of me. I want them to like me. I want them to love me. Is there someone who could love me even though I look like an idiot all the time?
Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. The answer is always Jesus. Ahh, Grandma — touché.
-Colleen Jurkiewicz Dorman