The Path of Life

The Path of Life

Friday, February 21, 2014


NOTE: The following is a homily given by our Fr. Meinrad Brune, O.S.B. on Thursday, Feburary 20, 2014, in the Archabbey Church at Saint Meinrad. He is reflecting here on the Mass readings for the day: James 2:1-9 and Mark 8:27-33. I thought it was worth sharing. -- Br. Francis


Salty, old St. James was a good psychologist. He describes very well how we show our real values and feelings by the way we treat others. When the rich or important man or woman enters the room—especially when they are people who can do something for us—and when the beautiful girl or the handsome man comes on the scene, we are all eyes, ears, and heart. We are truly caring, open, and all the other nice words.

But the less educated, the uninteresting person, the one who is hard to talk with, and the person with whose opinions we disagree: these get the attention we think they deserve—not much. We tend to write them off or put them down.

The Gospel, too, shows a way of writing people off. Peter did it even to Jesus—who did not like it.  Here, it is a case of simply concluding—off the top of our head—that somebody does not know what he or she is talking about. Their suggestions, theology, politics, opinions, abilities, and tastes are simply of no value to us.

Every walking being, every monk, is a walking mystery (or sacrament), which means that something is revealed and something is hidden. Nobody—even monks and friends who are close to me—can completely understand my feelings, how I arrived at my present frame of mind, and the particular way fear and idealism work in me. Such monks and friends take me as I am and try to understand me. They may not agree with my opinions, but they do not write them off as silly.  They do not try to make me over, as Peter did Jesus.

At the same time, though, it is a case of live and let live. I know what life is for me—mysterious, wonderful, painful, angry, and upsetting. It is that way, deep inside, for others, too. I have to be sensitive to all.

Through the life, suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we have been given the freedom and power to grow into the unique persons God wants us to be. Our spiritual life is enhanced only to the extent that we exercise our freedom and power to accept others in the community—to see each other as having been chosen by God for fulfillment as a uniquely human person.

The people outside this monastery need us, and also the monks within this monastery need and deserve each other, because it is God’s community we are serving, God’s monks we are serving—each of us, according to his given ability. Let us write off or put down no one in our community. Amen!

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