Reading through today’s scriptures, I was taken aback by the words, “If you do not listen, and if you do not take to heart giving honor to my name, says the Lord of hosts, I will send a curse upon you and your blessing I will curse.” (Mal 2: 1- 2). Why use the word “curse” and why reiterate it in the very same sentence? Reflecting further, I began to ask myself, “is God so frustrated and disappointed with humankind that God wants to remind us of our place?”
No doubt, the people Malachi was addressing had broken their covenant with God. God’s covenant was that of life and peace, and it called on the people to honor and fear God’s name. Their disobedience led others astray, dividing the faith.
They had failed to honor God. But how about us today? Do we honor God as we promised at our baptism? What does honoring God mean today in a world filled with turmoil, hate, nationalism, divisions, partisanship, polarization, discrimination, death, and untold suffering? How do we confront the immense hate, misinformation, and disinformation coming at us from all fronts?
The Psalmist offers us an answer, “In you, Lord, I have found my peace.” We have received God’s word. This “word is at work in all who believe.” How are you and I proclaiming this word? Are we like the scribes and Pharisees that Jesus refers to in the gospel today? “Therefore, do and observe everything they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach, but they do not practice.”
Living our Christian calling today demands that we live what we preach. We proclaim that we are followers of Christ. What would Christ do with the unspeakable violence happening in Palestine, Israel, Ukraine, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia? What would Jesus do with the violence that is unfolding in the Holy Land? Would Jesus be silent, indifferent, or partisan in his response? No. Jesus would speak truth to power and demand an end to hate and violence.
Today, Jesus tells us that we are all brothers and sisters, and those greatest must be servants of all. He calls us to be humble. He demonstrated to us what this humility means by assuming our human form, transforming and reconciling us with God. Christian humility must seek to liberate the oppressed, heal wounds of violence and hatred, and bring hope, reconciliation, justice, peace, and equality for all, regardless of race, status, or religion. In this way we honor God.
Photo of Sr. Susan Nchubiri, MM, in talk about intercultural living at Providence Rest, New York, NY via Facebook