15th Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 15, 2012)

I wonder where all the dust is collecting? Now you’re wondering what on earth prompted that question? Right?

Well, it comes from Sunday’s Gospel: Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you,
leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

Nowadays conversations can be quite difficult. Politics, religion and interpersonal relationships are definitely off limits …. the safe topics are sports and weather. Blogs, text messages and emails are filled with truly vitriolic attacks on people and ideas. Estrangements between spouses, families and friends happen because of ill-chosen or dumb comments. Few truly listen; everyone wants to vent. So a lot of dust-shaking goes on … and where does it gather?

Basically, it collects in one’s heart, mind and body where it clogs everything up … and I mean that literally. Anger, stress and an unwillingness to forgive cause very real and dangerous physiological and psychologial damage to our being.

Sometimes we absolutely must shake off the dust, particularly if we are in toxic situations. But so often it’s a knee-jerk, immature reaction that ends up causing disease way out of proportion to the original hurt. But there’s ways we can do it without killing our spirits or bodies.

First, check yourself. What were your responsibilities in what happened? It’s never 100% the other person’s fault. How did your attitudes, decisions and character contribute to the outcome?

Second, control your thoughts and feelings. Fixating on negative experience only tightens the noose. How do you really want to feel? Then determine to feel that way.

Third, forgive. This is utterly essential. Go ahead and wave a white flag and forgive. Write an email, send a card, text or make a call. Pray for your enemies. Free yourself from the need to punish or repay and then use all of your energy on your next destination.

Jesus always took the time to debrief His apostles after He sent them on those evangelization trips. It’s good to do the same for yourself. This way, we can truly enjoy all the spiritual blessings Paul mentions in the Second Reading. And it makes possible what we ask for in the Psalm: “Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.”

Be well, my friend!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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