22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
What thoughts do you pursue? That’s a more critical question than we may realize because so much of what we do begins as a thought. Even more, much of our time is taken up with thoughts. From passing thoughts to practical thoughts to more contemplative thoughts, our days are filled with them. Our thoughts can be joyous; our thoughts can be malicious; we can even feel like we are imprisoned by our thoughts. To all this, the ancient Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu would say, “Stop thinking and end your problems” (Tao Te Ching, verse 20). Christian mystics might agree, but that is easier said than done. Like it or not, our days are filled with thoughts. So, what thoughts do you pursue?
This is at the heart of Jesus’ message today. Some scribes and Pharisees observe that Jesus’ disciples do not follow some of the customs concerning meals and the washing of hands, and they challenge Jesus about this. Jesus responds by drawing attention to their motivations. “Where are your hearts?” he seems to ask. “What thoughts are you choosing to pursue?” The good news is right there, available to them. Instead of opening their minds and hearts to it, their thoughts lead them elsewhere. So, Jesus tries to re-direct them.
The good news is always “right there” for us too. To recognize it, we need the presence of mind to step back and see where our hearts are and what thoughts we are pursuing. If our thoughts are unkind, selfish, petty, or even anxious, we can choose to think differently. Of course, this isn’t always easy, especially if we get into negative mental habits. Saying a prayer can help move our minds to a better place. But we can’t even get started down a healthier path if we don’t first ask the question, “What thoughts am I pursuing right now?”
Let Us Pray:
Loving God, you know our hearts. Help us to see the good where we are. And move our thoughts to what is true, good, and beautiful, that we may be witnesses of the good news to others and experience your peace. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)
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