- Sunday September 18: Beckoned Beyond Our Vision
- What is your emotional response to this parable? With whom do you identify – the rich man, the steward, the debtors? Do you consider the outcome just? Simple be with any emotions, cognitive dissonance or sensations you are experiencing. The Welcoming Prayer practice may be useful.
- Last week, we were offered a piece of poetry. How might it relate to today’s Gospel? Consider praying with the brief poem in the manner of Lectio Divina.
We miss the light, we lose ourselves in lies,
We never reach the heart of anything,
Unless we turn to meet God’s searching eyes,
Who meets us in the midst of everything.
– Malcolm Guite, Lost Son
You may read the full email reflection here: https://mailchi.mp/coutreach/word-of-the-week-sept18
I’m sorry that I can’t be in chapel Tuesday morning. That parable leaves me baffled.
And yes, God is mystery. But I wish I could respond to the mystery the way I respond to pictures from the Webb telescope. Or the way I used to, years ago, when I could lie on my back outdoors at night and look at the Milky Way – the rest of our own galaxy. Too much light and haze to do that anymore
Sunday September 18: Beckoned Beyond Our Vision
My initial impression of the first full paragraph of questions is the answer to them all is “yes”. Jesus’ listeners related to that parable deeply. Under Roman occupation, shrewd dealings with unjust officials and dishonest tax collectors were the norm. The rich were being squandered from so that some may stay alive. The crowd would have deeply related.
What strikes me is I also sense in the hearing, new levels of appreciation for “the other side” were opened, being “shattered” as Father Keating wrote. Perhaps shrewdness was why the steward was hired in the first place, it being his spiritual gift. Upon learning of his pending end of tenure, that same gift being repurposed is what Jesus commends. <3 linda
George Marsh sent this reflection and I’m posting it here for him: “I experienced cognitive dissonance meditating on this passage, which seems to conclude with verses 10-12. An adroit if dishonest servant (steward) is given faint praise by Jesus, who then challenges his disciples, asking, “If you then cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches?” I think that genuine riches are the graces that God gives. The closing line we all remember: “You cannot be the slave of both God and money.” I like to think that without being a slave to money, I could still have and save money for good purposes. As George Bailey said to angel second-class Clarence in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” money comes in handy on earth. But, in my opinion, Jesus makes this point: money is very important, just as family was very important to the people of his time. But nothing is more important than our fidelity to God. God gave God’s self to us, and in response we have the grace to be God’s slaves. God emptied God’s self to become human, taking on the nature of a slave, wrote Paul.”
There is another kind of cognitive dissonance. It happens when I come face to face with uncomfortable limits. Limits of time, money, energy. It was easier when I had the resources and the energy to say yes to everything. Now, the choices are often between two good things. This is when time in silence becomes critically important. Otherwise, I listen to and respond to all sorts of voices and miss the one that is most important. The one whose first language is silence.
Hello friends. I admit this parable has always baffled me. But I found a lot of food for thought in the quote from Father Thomas:
“God gives us plenty of chances to let go of our vision, and more than that, often takes our vision and shatters it … It is the willingness to allow one’s vision to be shattered … that is necessary and liberating … Giving up one’s vision is not the end of the journey, but the beginning.”
There are many parables or other texts in scripture (or in life, for that matter…) that I don’t understand. I’m learning to set aside old interpretations, old understandings (or lack thereof) and let my old ‘vision’ be shattered in favor of something new.
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