Simple Reflections (Part 1) by Jose I. Torres
These three sets of reflections offer insights on how our human journey converges with our hope-giving faith journey. They invite us to contemplate on how day-to-day conflicts, grievances and other burdens are mended by our faith in eternal God’s mercy and caring for others’ dignity.
Central to these reflections is the theme of human love and service to others, including “listening with our hearts”, fostering deep relationships with those in need, sharing our gifts with them and marching to our spiritual growth.
Reflection 1 (Not Being Judgmental and Sharing His Mercy)
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you.” (Luke 6:37-38); “Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.” (Philippians 2:6)
First recorded by Canadian singer (Anne Murray), then released by a Canadian band (Ocean) as its debut, and later adopted by many other greats (Elvis Presley, Perry Como and Engelbert Humperdinck, among others), “Put Your Hand in the Hand” is a popular gospel pop song in early 1970s. Its opening lyrics are:
“Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and you can look at others differently
By puttin’ your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee.”
- How do you treat others? Are you at times guilty of passing judgment on our neighbours-in-need given their specific situations? How do you stay away from being judgmental?
2: Do you find it hard to forgive? Do you experience Christ alive in you when forgiving others for choices and acts that might have deeply hurt you? Do you find true healing, perhaps relief from debilitating feeling brought about by long-unforgiven and – “unburied” offenses by others? How do you keep forgiveness at the forefront of your lifeHow do you feel when someone does not forgive you? How do you make good situations where you had been in the wrong, and mend relationships with others?
3: How do you feel when someone does not forgive you?How do you make good situations whereyou had been in†he wrong? and mend relationshipswith others?
- “We don’t see the contents of the human heart, but God does” is a familiar line. How does this guide and bind you in your relationship with others? How do you share God’s mercy, which is far greater than human judgement and sense of fairness, with others? In what ways can you rise above human judgment and self-righteousness?
Reflection 2 (Getting Back the Measure You Give)
“For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)
Pope Francis writes in “The Joy of the Gospel” that accepting God’s invitation to receive His love and to love Him in return with the very love which is His gift, brings forth in our lives and actions fundamental response: to desire, seek and protect the good of others. He points up the absolute priority of “going forth from ourselves:s one of the two great commandments, which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s completely free gift of l: toward our brothers and sisters” as one of the two great commandments, which ground every moral norm and as the clearest sign for discerning spiritual growth in response to God’s completely free gift of love.
- How does your genuine faith in God who is kind and merciful help you to be sensitive to the sufferings and sorrows of our sisters and brothers? Do you seek to show your love and serve Him in your service to our neighbours-in-need?
2: How has your involvement in lay organizations of caring for and service to others helped you grow spiritually? Have your interactions with those you serve moved you to a deeper life of faith?
3: When was the last time you prayed for your neighbour-in-need? How often do you pray for them?