The Sunday Project

Lost in the Woods

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time |

By Violet
person navigating a maze
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First Reading
Dt 4:1-2, 6-8

Moses said to the people: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. In your observance of the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin upon you, you shall not add to what I command you nor subtract from it. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’ For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”

Second Reading
Jas 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27

Dearest brothers and sisters: All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the word of truth that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you and is able to save your souls.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Gospel Reading
Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. —For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds. — So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts. You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

He summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.

“From within people, from their hearts, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

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We’ve all lost things across the course of our lives.

When I say we’ve all lost things I’m sure some of the following things may come to mind: loose change, maybe an assignment for school, maybe even a set of keys. We think about lost things in the scope of these types of material objects that which we have misplaced only to hopefully find them again latter. However, lost things don’t just have to be material objects they can also be pieces of ourselves.

We are conditioned and trained to live in this busy chaotic world. One which is always moving, always changing, and is always awake. In an effort to keep afloat in this type of world we sometimes lose ourselves.

I think for a very long time many years in fact I’ve sort of lost sight of who I am; of what really matters. I got that reminder recently in the form of a specter from my past (let’s for purposes of this reflection call that particular specter from my past: the wolf) that I thought I had ditched and ran from a long time ago showing up in my life again. I guess seeing the wolf that I ran from four years ago when I should have trusted its advice show up in my life again giving me a second chance sort of reminded me of how many mistakes I made over the past few years.

Four years ago, I outright rejected the wolf because I was too caught up in putting all my time, effort, and energy into fitting in. A cycle which I don’t think I’ve ever completely managed to break out of despite changing a ton in that four-year time span.

I decided to finally make amends with the wolf, and finally take the advice to cut some toxic things out of my life that I had taken root, and that have been dragging me down a path of depression these last four years. To start actually for the first time in a long time take control over my life, and start being myself, and stop being others puppet on a string.

To be honest so far, the wolfs advice has been working; I’m honestly starting to feel truly happy again for the first time in a really long time.

I guess the moral of this reflection while it is going to be a short one is that amidst these chaotic times-amidst all the politics, covid, and all the stuff that has been happening in the church lately- we live in right now take a moment to stop and ask yourself whether or not you might have lost anything that which is important to you.