Dodging the slings and arrows of those around us can be frustrating. In Numbers 11, Joshua, who is one of the chosen men by Moses, comes like a kid on the playground to his teacher, when he hears the news that two men not registered with their group are prophesying: My lord, Moses, stop them! Moses calls him on his incorrect thinking: Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them! We are a jealous people who sometimes take down good people who are just trying their best to follow God. Jesus has the same predicament in the Gospel with John reporting that someone was casting out demons in Christ’s name but was not a follower.
St. Ignatius teaches us to discern spirits so that we may recognize not only our own goodness and the ability to make choices but I believe, also to help us embrace that others have wonderful gifts too. Working with young people has taught me that they may surprise you with their abilities. Just because they are not the same as older folks, does not mean that they are incapable of doing amazing works. In fact, today, Jesus warns us not to put a stumbling block before one of these little ones. Young people today seem to be experiencing great pressure to do things that are harmful in order to fit in. Many of the ones I know can resist and are still standing firm in their beliefs and dreams. This brings much joy to my heart.
As I walked in nature today, this flower seemed undaunted by the fact that summer was over. It was still standing, sharing its beauty with the world, as we are all called to do. This week has been physically challenging for me but I am still standing, too. So much gets thrown at us just by the fact that we are alive, that we really need to be kinder to people and to give them a hand up instead of a push down. We do not know why other people are the way they are. Goodness knows I was pretty grumpy last week! I am preaching to myself here when I say that I need to believe that if God is calling me to work for the Kingdom, God is mostly likely calling others too, and I need to not judge them. I will try to leave that in God’s capable hands.
What was I feeling the last time I spoke negatively of someone else?
How can I help young people make good decisions that embrace Kingdom building?
You are a jealous God,
who wants your people to love
one another and share the load.
We are an envious people
competing in a world that encourages
us to belittle others when we feel threatened.
Lord, help me to have a heart of passion
tempered with compassion.
May I lift up instead of cast down.
May I praise instead of discourage.
Let me a light unto you.