1 Corinthians 8:1b-7, 11-13
It seems that we have increasingly been sucked into an “us” vs. “them” state with no middle ground. So many people act as if anyone who disagrees deserves to be villainized, demeaned, ridiculed, accused, and cut off. Even scientists receive threats, sometimes against their lives, when objective facts they present are inconvenient or not consonant with already-determined beliefs. There is no reaching across, reaching down, reaching out and bringing in.
This is the absolute antithesis of what Jesus taught! It is more centered on protecting individual or group power than on living the Gospel and working toward the common good of all. It is anti-Christian, anti-Catholic, and sinful.
As usual, any time I make a commentary on our society or our Church, I must examine myself for ways in which I contribute to the very things I decry. And then I must start the desired change with myself, deciding what I can do to work toward a better end goal in my own life while encouraging that change in others.
So, I begin looking at my interactions with those who disagree with me. Do I truly listen? Do I want to understand where they’re coming from, or am I “listening” to determine how I can contradict, disprove, or argue with them? Most especially, am I focused only on their words, or can I hear the deeper emotions behind those words? What is it that the other person is clutching closely enough to defend it against challenge or change? What are they terrified of losing? If I can go deeper, truly hearing another person, there is at least a chance for understanding and common ground. I must remember, too, that if I am so set in my ways that I refuse to open my ears to hear another’s pain, hurt, fear, or personal experience, how can I ever expect them to listen to mine?
Jesus always went to the heart. That’s why he preached love of enemies, doing good for those who persecute you, refusing to condemn and instead offering peace and understanding. As he said, “For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
There’s so much more to do beyond this. Yet I believe this is where we need to start, and this is where I plan to start. How can I listen with the ears and mind of Christ? How can I look at a person I oppose and see that we are part of the same body? How can I learn to truly, deeply listen, and then work for the good of all? May God help me, and all of us, to do a better job. Our communal life depends on it.
Amy Florian is a teacher and consultant working in Chicago. For many years she has partnered with the Passionists. Visit Amy’s website: http://www.corgenius.com/.
https://passionist.org/daily-scripture-september-10-2020/Daily Scripture, September 8, 2020Daily Scripture, September 8, 2020