From New Prayers
As he walked the roads of Palestine, Jesus observed the life going on around him. Especially the life of ordinary people: the woman making bread, the woman searching for a lost coin; the injured man who had been attacked on the road, the children playing and the widow weeping; the sower in the field, the good harvest, and the shepherd with his flock…as he observed, he was filled with wonder. He saw the seeds of the Kingdom sprouting already through all this life.
Jesus is still traveling our human roads today: “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) He beckons to us, unobtrusively. Wherever there is the smallest gesture of genuine love, he is there: “Love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) It is up to us to follow in his footsteps through the thousands of little things that constitute a fruitful existence if they are nourished by this love.
today is Monday.
I went out and I saw laundry drying
hanging at the windows
and on balconies,
here and there in the concrete hollow,
a motley mosaic,
sparkling with color against the grey of the buildings.
The wind was making the multi-colored notes sing
on the clothesline.
and whispering in the ear of my heart, I heard
the song of trouble
and the song of love.
ironed clothes, soiled again,
to be washed again,
Clothes for my husband,
clothes for my son,
clothes for my daughter,
and my own mixed in with them.
Clothes for one week to the next,
from one washing to the next,
from one drying to the next,
from one ironing to the next.
I offer you this evening,
for all those women who don’t know you,
or for all who don’t think of praying to you,
this washing which is whiter,
this washing scented with the love of mothers
and of wives.
I offer you all these daily acts,
repeated a thousand times over,
making up the fabric of beautiful hidden lives,
the wonderful lives of humble people
who know that to love is to endure,
Little one, have I told you?
I’m telling you now
and you are to tell your brothers and sisters:
“The Kingdom of God is like a woman,
who spends her whole life
turning dirty washing into clean washing,
not through the power of some miracle detergent,
but through the miracle of love,
given every day.”
Jesus told them another parable:
The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A man takes a mustard seed and sows it in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it grows up, it is the biggest of all plants. It becomes a tree, so that birds come and make their nest in its branches.”
Jesus told them still another parable:
The Kingdom of Heaven is like this. A woman takes some yeast and mixes it with forty liters of flour until the whole batch of dough rises. (Matthew 13:31-33)
A teacher of the law came up and tried to trap Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What do the scriptures say? How do you interpret them?” The man answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind”; and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Luke 10:25-27)