|Cherry Blossoms in Washington, DC. 2009, jfd+|
So much of what we have been reading in Matthew is focused on our having right intentions, being "pure" on our insides: our thoughts, prayers, motivations. This is, partly, the background for why Matthew has Jesus telling us not to judge others, and that how we treat others is what will be returned to us, and the danger of having our blocked sight be the lens through which we do those judgments (which end up being anything but just). Jesus than says that what we ask will be given, the door will be opened, because God's love and care for us is so great, that, of course, our wishes will be granted....Well, not all our wishes. Matthew throws in an oft overlooked phrase: God will give good things to those who ask. And what are good things?
If we are focused on ourselves, and not doing the work Jesus instructs us to do in our daily lives, how can we truly see? How can we know for what to ask?
In Holy Women, Holy Men today we remember and honor Frances Perkins, a tireless worker for social justice issues during the early and mid-20th Century industrialization and urbanization of America. All of her work was rooted in her Episcopal faith and her inner spiritual-prayer-life that blossomed into fruit of advocating for those affected by unjust labor laws. Her dozen years as U.S. Secretary of Labor during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency is an example of "good things" for which to ask, based on right motivations: focusing on the poor, the oppressed.
Our Gospel selection ends today with the verse In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets...A "golden rule" so to speak...We are directed to have a different focus in our lives, and that needs to start by the interior work we all are called upon to do: cleaning our own house before we can truly focus on others' homes. How can we know for what to ask if our priorities and sight are askew?
Kinda tough stuff today. But good nonetheless.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.