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Be, Not Do

Tuesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Sirach 2:1-11

My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 37:3-4, 18-19, 27-28, 39-40

R. (see 5) Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Trust in the LORD and do good,
that you may dwell in the land and be fed in security.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will grant you your heart’s requests.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The LORD watches over the lives of the wholehearted;
their inheritance lasts forever.
They are not put to shame in an evil time;
in days of famine they have plenty.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
Turn from evil and do good,
that you may abide forever;
For the LORD loves what is right,
and forsakes not his faithful ones.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.
The salvation of the just is from the LORD;
he is their refuge in time of distress.
And the LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
R. Commit your life to the Lord, and he will help you.

Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee,
but he did not wish anyone to know about it.
He was teaching his disciples and telling them,
“The Son of Man is to be handed over to men
and they will kill him,
and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.”
But they did not understand the saying,
and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house,
he began to ask them,
“What were you arguing about on the way?”
But they remained silent.
For they had been discussing among themselves on the way
who was the greatest.
Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them,
“If anyone wishes to be first,
he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”
Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

NAB

An incessant to-do list runs in the back of my mind, and I’m constantly finding myself flitting from one task to another. Even pausing to enjoy entertainment is a struggle against the pull to be useful, so typically you’ll find me folding laundry while watching TV or scrubbing dishes as I listen to a podcast. Kill two birds with one stone, right?

Our culture’s blaring message of BE PRODUCTIVE and TAKE ACTION are constantly nagging me. In and of themselves, they aren’t bad, but when my accomplishments define my value and vocation, that’s when I know something is wrong.

The disciples in today’s Gospel heard Jesus tell them He is going to be killed, and they don’t quite understand it. Instead of waiting or even asking for clarification, they move to the pro-active position of planning. Which one of them is the greatest? Who can take the job from here? I get this—I am a planner. Give me a problem, and I will start coming up with solutions, ways we can work this out, where to focus next.

Jesus surprises them with how He wants them to approach it. Instead of leadership and procedure, He encourages them to be servants to one another, to receive children into their midst. His plan for the future asks them to BE and not Do.

This doesn’t require us to abandon the responsibilities that need to be done, but we should ask ourselves . . . what is my motivation behind this action? Are these things helping me to cultivate the heart of Christ? Our good deeds are so much more when submitted to the will of Christ. I know I sometimes need to stop doing and solely listen. Am I willing to be still and ask Him what the plan is? Our value is in who we are created to be, not in what we do.

Contemplate her wise words: “The world doesn’t need what women have; it needs what women are.”~Saint Edith Stein

Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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