REFLECTION FOR TUESDAY 22-06-2020 (12th Week of the Year)
2 Kings 19:9b-11, 14-21,31-35a,36/Matthew 7:6, 12-14
By Fr. Leon Houessou
Beloved in Christ, there may be the tendency in the lives of many people to live a life of illusion, to pretend as if a situation does not exist even as the moment stares us at the face. Many of us know we have to “face reality,” yet often the reality is just too much to bear. We look at the mirror of life and we do not like what we see. Jesus was essentially telling His disciples in today’s gospel reading to face reality when in verse 6 he said; “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs” because they have no idea of the sense of the sacred or the value of pearls. Was Jesus’ reference to these animals derogatory? It may seem so but it was absolutely not the case.
I had a nasty experience with some dogs while I served as a major seminarian in a parish in Lagos Island, Lagos, Nigeria. I really do love dogs but this pair of German Shepherds really broke my heart. I washed my cassock in the afternoon and spread it on the line to dry. Unfortunately, it rained. I had to leave it overnight because it was all wet. I had only two cassocks then because I felt I did not need more at the time. Shockingly, I woke up in the morning to find my cassock torn to shreds. I could tell the dogs did it because their fur was all over it. Obviously, they leapt into the air and ripped my well-pegged cassock from the line and used it as toy all night long. I freaked out! Though I was not a priest then, I considered my cassock to be a very sacred vestment. Well, that was for me, not the dogs. For them, it was a toy. Enraged, my next line of action was to beat the hell out of those dogs but I immediately faced reality and reneged on my planned vendetta. Those dogs have no sense of the sacred. They were simply having fun. The same goes for the pigs too. They would have done worse to my cassock. This was exactly Jesus’ point that we must face the reality that some persons will never understand our personal spiritual journeys or convictions in life. Some may even make a mockery of it.
Brethren, sometimes we fear that the pain of reality will be so much that we prefer to duck our heads in the sand rather than go out and face it. This is why many people stay in bad relationships, in jobs they do not love, and in situations that are beneath them. No matter how much you try, some people will never like you. No matter how you preach, some people will never repent. No matter how much live out the Christian faith genuinely, some people will never be moved and will always oppose your beliefs. No matter how you try to explain your ambitions in life, some people will never find sense in it. Exodus 8:15 tells us that despite all the signs Pharaoh saw, he still hardened his heart against Israel. In verse 10 of today’s first reading, despite all what King Sennacherib have heard about the God of Israel, he tried talking King Hezekiah into forgetting his God and surrender to him. What Hezekiah did was simple. He faced reality and did not dissipate his energy trying to dialogue with Sennacherib because like the dogs and pigs, he would not understand the idea that fighting Judah was fighting God. He simply went into prayer and the rest is history. Some people will never understand what 1 Corinthians 2:9 means. The earlier you face this reality the better. Shalom!
PRAY: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen!
ACTION PLAN: Reflect prayerfully on 2 Chronicles 32:7-8, Luke 9:5, Matthew 10:14, Matthew 13:13-15, Mark 6:11, John 15:18-25, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Colossians 1:23, Hebrews 9:27