Embracing the Broken by Letting Go

Reflection for the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time by Franciscan Postulant and FAN Intern, Kevin Hamzik

This reflection was originally posted in our February 10th newsletter

In this week’s gospel, Matthew gives us an account of Jesus teaching the disciples about some of the commandments of their ancestors. At first glance at the text, the account seems to be one of Jesus just preaching the commandments as a way of not going to hell, but after a second glance and a little reflecting, the text dives much deeper.

At first, Jesus tells the disciples that those who follow the commandments will be called the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, while those who don’t will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. Here, Jesus merely states that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Notice how Jesus never once in the text says that people will be sent to hell for not following the commandments, he just says that you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven, which could be pointing towards the possibility of being sent to purgatory. This is a reminder to us of how great the love is that Jesus has for us. He recognizes that we as humans are not perfect beings, but He still loves us because we were made that way, so as Paul wrote in his letters, Jesus is showing us that nothing can separate us from his love.

Jesus then goes on to talk about some of the commandments, specifically killing, adultery, and lying. Again, Jesus does not condemn those who don’t follow the commandments, but instead gives them lessons on what I believe is embracing imperfections and letting go of things. When talking about killing, Jesus says to be reconciled with whoever has done wrong to you or whoever you have done wrong to before going to the altar. In a way, Jesus is telling us to embrace the imperfections that we have or that someone else has by being reconciled with them. Reconciling with others is about understanding that we all have a little bit of brokenness and imperfection is us, but we still love each other. When Jesus goes on to talk about adultery and lying, he first tells the disciples to get rid of the things that cause us to sin by telling them to rip their eye out or cut their hand off. Jesus then tells them not to swear by anything, for we don’t have the power to make a single hair black or white. These can be seen as messages of letting go of not only the bad things in our lives but also our own thoughts of being better than others. To discover and be who we truly are and meant to be, we must leave behind the things or people in our lives that do us no good. We must let go of the thought that we are or need to be smarter or better than everyone to strive and succeed, when in fact we are all here to help and grow with each other. Again, we are all imperfect and broken beings.

Saint Francis of Assisi was someone that throughout his life realized that the more he let go of things and the image that he and society wanted for him, the more he could embrace the brokenness of the world. Francis recognized that material possessions of the world were what separated him from the love of the world and being able to love all things around him. He saw beauty in the lepers, the outcasts of the world, those who were shunned out of Assisi to live in their own village, while also embracing the beauty of all of creation. He loved animals and sought to make friends with them, because he knew that God existed in them. Francis gives us a perfect example of who we need to be in our world today. Like Francis, we must give up the societal norms and visions of greatness that society has and instead reach out to the outcasts and see the beauty in the broken. Our world is full of outcasts, including those living in poverty and those we don’t call brother or sister because they come from a different place than us. There is brokenness in these people, just as there is brokenness in all of us, and there is beauty in them as well. We should never deny people the opportunity to live a better life. Francis dedicated part of his life to making the lives of the lepers, the outcasts, better as he recognized the beauty in the brokenness of society; we need to as well. Let us all strive to be a lifeline for everyone in our world, loving them, blessing them, and helping them live a life that they deserve to live. Don’t curse or ignore them, rather embrace them and the brokenness that comes with them, knowing we are all broken somehow. Be the person that you needed at some point in your life. You are exactly what someone needs in their life.

Kevin Hamzik
Franciscan Postulant and FAN Intern

Published in: on February 11, 2020 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  

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