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Finding Blessings God’s Way - Family Reflection Video

Finding Blessings God’s Way - Family Reflection Video

Why pray?  |  Love thy Neighbor

The Mass Readings of today seem all too familiar. The messages of "trust God" as Abram did and the "stop judging others" message from Matthew had been retold repeatedly. What is there new to say besides the same old storylines? As I read through the readings, I saw a connectedness between the readings that made great sense.


In the Genesis story of the first reading, God is relating to Abram in a way that he can hear, understand, and act upon. God asked Abram to move away from all that was familiar and to a place that he didn't yet know. He was to go to a new foreign land filled with uncertainty, which brought anxiety, discomfort, and maybe even fear. It was as if God was saying to Abram that he could not stay in the protected and familiar space he came from. If you want to move in my direction, you must let go to move forward. Leave behind what gives you certainty and security, and you will find me.  

Then, in the Gospel of Matthew, we hear the famous story about the splinter and the wooden beam. In today's Gospel, Jesus addresses an issue where few of us can claim innocence — passing judgment on others. This story challenges us to recognize the beam(s) we carry around in our eyes that don't allow us to see.  

Easier said than done, right? Even walking into Mass, how easy is it to comment on the clothes of the family in front of you, a person dressed differently than ours, the singing voice of an older man in the back pew, or a voice that seems to speak differently than ours? How easy it is to point a finger and blame others, our parents, friends, situations, the leadership, and society at large, and if that doesn't work, then on the government. On the other hand, how hard it is to point the finger at ourselves, to own up to our faults and take responsibility for them. 

In the same way that God is challenging Abram to see more clearly by leaving all that is familiar, Jesus takes it a step further by telling us that we cannot see at all because we are unwilling to recognize in ourselves all that is too familiar that we seem to try to protect at all costs desperately. 

 It is easy for us to see something relatively minor in others that should be changed, that should be let go, but we are unable to see something even more obvious in ourselves. We seem to want to hold on to all that is familiar, even if it causes harm and anxiety and doesn't allow us to see. The supposed security, safety, and predictability of the familiar beam that we hold onto is easier for us to deal with than the unknown of letting it go—even if it causes us pain. But, as God told Abram, if we can find a way to let go, all will be very well—even blessed. 

We need to move, change, grow, and not stand still being complacent with the familiar. And it's time to remove the wooden beam and move on from home. As the Lord said to Abram, if we can do this, then "All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you." 


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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.