September 9, 2012 – Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Have you ever stood in line at an amusement park? Ever notice how many different types of people you are surrounded by? Which type of people draws your attention? What is it about them that catches your eye? What kind of judgments do you find yourself making by observing others?
Sometimes I find myself in lines everywhere: at amusement parks, at restaurants, at conferences, even in line for Communion. I notice people…what they are wearing, unique features about themselves, their body language, their mood, and so many other things, too.
If I am really honest, I sometimes tend to think things like: “I could see myself being friends with that person”, “What is wrong with that person?”, “That person is good looking”, “That person is ugly”, and “How many body piercings do you need, buddy?”
After reading the second reading from James, I found myself thinking of how many times I am subtly or sometimes not so subtly casting some sort of judgment. If I really look at it, it boils down to who I think is “richer” in some sense of the word and who is “poorer” in some sense of that word. When we have thoughts about who is “cooler”, “more hip”, “more fun”, etc., we are really saying who is richer or poorer in our eyes. In our culture, good looking people are seen as “richer” and ugly people are “poorer”. Depending on someone’s clothing, body type, style, and personality, we can often be judgmental and put some people ahead of others. This is our humanness. Our Faith calls us to see others through God’s eyes, seeing the richness in all people.
So as this week begins, may we challenge ourselves, daily, to be on-guard against judging others, and may the mercy of God cleanse us for the times we have judged. May the following brief prayer reflections assist us this week as we try to let this Sunday’s readings transform our lives.
Monday: Today, Lord, may I not judge who is richer and poorer according to the world, by what I see. May my eyes be opened and may I “be opened”.
Tuesday: Today, Lord, may I not judge who is richer and poorer according to the world, by what I hear. May my ears be opened and may I “be opened”.
Wednesday: Today, Lord, may I not judge who is richer and poorer according to the world, by what I feel. May my spirit be opened and may I “be opened”.
Thursday: Today, Lord, may I not judge who is richer and poorer according to the world, by what I think about them. May my mind be opened, and may I “be opened”.
Friday: Today, Lord, may I reach out to the “poor” and re-read last Sunday’s readings. By reflecting on them and seeing how I can change a bit of my reality and the reality of others, I pray I always see more clearly You in others.
Saturday: May I have the courage to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation this day, to reconcile my judgments of others with the only One that can judge, my God, my Savior. Heal and transform me, O God! Wash me clean! May I never be a judge with evil designs again through Your grace!

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