Posts Tagged ‘measuring ourselves’

Monday, February 24, 2013: Sirach 8 & 9Part II

The Measure of Friends

af-grain-pouring-mali[1]Today’s Gospel is Luke’s description of the Transfiguration (Luke 9:28b-36) and each time we come across these verses we are given the opportunity to again think about the concept of friendship: what it means to us, how we live out friendship with others, and what qualities we hope to find in friends.  So often in the New Testament stories we watch Jesus interact with those closest to him and we always find Jesus giving more than words or gestures to his friends; he brings more than The Law (Moses) and the Prophets (Elijah). He brings himself; he gives his full and total self.  And the marvel of Jesus is that he continues to be present to each of us today . . . even when we do not number him as one of our friends.  In his love for us, Jesus reminds us of the important of giving even when we anticipate receiving nothing in return for the measure with which we measure will be measured out to us.  (Luke 6:38, Mark 4:24, Matthew 7:2).  Jesus spares nothing in his great love for his friends.  We must spare nothing as well.  Sirach has words that help us to nurture friendship, and to gain the wisdom that helps us to be a good friend to others.

Sirach cautions us to stay away from the powerful.

Know that you are stepping among snares and walking over a net.

Sirach tells us that we ought not to worry about a “sinner’s fame” or a “proud man’s success”.

You know not what disaster awaits him . . . he will not reach death unpunished.

Sirach suggests that we measure our neighbors in order to associate with the wise and learned.

Let your conversations be about the law of the Lord.

Sirach reminds us of the intimacy of a shared meal.

Have the just for your table companions.

Sirach says to us what we know to be true about new friendship.

A new friend is like new wine which you drink with pleasure only when it has aged.

And Sirach tells us that time and patience are important between friends if the relationship is to have value.

Discard not an old friend, for the new one cannot equal him.

When we feel ourselves caught by the allure of control, when we feel trapped by the deception of an associate, when we realize that a colleague has been manipulative . . . we know that it is time to take measure.  Not of the other, but of ourselves.  Are we willing to witness to truth?  Are we willing to break silence about a long-held lie?  Where do we find comfort . . . in the solace of associates who stroke my wounded self . . . or in the integrity of a relationship where we are lovingly corrected?  And in turn, are we willing to become a wounded healer?  Are we willing to be a true friend?

Tomorrow, a prayer for Friends and Friendship.

Image from: http://www.iexplore.com/experiences/culinary/gallery

The other Transfiguration stories appear in Matthew 17:1-8 and Mark 9:2-8.

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Matthew 7:1-5: The Spirit of Arrogance

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Written on June 6 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

This may be the most difficult challenge we have before us – the stepping away from judgmental thoughts, words and actions.  It is so easy for us to remind ourselves and others that only God can really know what is in our hearts and minds while at the same time thinking that we know more than God knows.  There is something in our human nature that assesses the faults in others more readily than in ourselves.  We have a way of explaining away or excusing our own behavior while at the same time criticizing that of others.

Jesus is recorded as giving us this advice in this Gospel and in Luke 6:37-42 where Jesus shows how well he knows us.  We want to remove specks from others’ eyes while ignoring the planks in our own.

From the CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE notes (Senior 17): “This is not a prohibition against recognizing the faults of others, which would hardly be compatible with vv 5 and 6, but against passing judgment in a spirit of arrogance, forgetful of one’s own faults.  Hypocrite: the designation previously given to the scribes and Pharisees is here given to the Christian disciple who is concerned with the faults of others and ignores his own more serious offenses”. 

Humility is the characteristic we most need to refine in ourselves if we hope to overcome “the spirit of arrogance”.  Christ himself exhibits this to a remarkable degree when we consider that he comes as God yet acts as a human.  He is able to calm storms on the sea and also gather the small children to himself.  He watches over the marginalized: widows and orphans, the blind and lame, the poor.  He admonishes those who take advantage of the underclass.  He calls all of us to service and justice.

Stop judging, that you might not be judged . . . The measure that you measure with is measured out to you.

How do we hope to be measured?  Do we stand up to our own scrutiny?  And in the moments of judgment that we experience, how do we measure up?

A re-post from October 13, 2011.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.17. Print.   

Image from: http://gbcdecatur.org/sermons/UnmaskingHypocrite.html 

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