Daily Office Readings for Monday of the 7th Week of Easter: Year 1
“Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
I think the point that our Lord Jesus is making is that once we have set our minds, our sights, on where we are going, we need to stay focused.
I joined the United States Marines at the end of May, 1972. Basic Training (Boot Camp), was a big step for me. It was my first ever flight on an airplane. It was the first time away from home without my Dad with whom I had always been with as we worked for United Van Lines, movers.
It is an old story that still happens today. I arrive finally on a bus with other recruits on Parris Island, South Carolina somewhere around midnight. We were “greeted,” if that’s what you want to call it, by a man wearing a Smoky-the-Bear hat and he appeared to be very angry – angry at us. I think he was mad because we were there and made him have to work. This new chapter in my life required me to stay focused on whatever was about to happen next. I had no time to think about, “those at my home,” back in Nashville, Tennessee. I needed to be attentive to what was happening next. I did not want to fail. After much training, successes, some failures and accomplishments, I graduated Honor Man for my platoon on August 28, 1972. I made it! But it required me to not look back and second guess my decision to join the Marines in the first place. I retired after 30 years. The same is true about the decision to follow Jesus. There is no looking back. It must be face-forward always. With hand to plow and no looking back, we make straight rows.
Today we remember Thurgood Marshall. (Lawyer and Jurist, 1993)
“At the age of 32, Marshall successfully argued his first case before the United States Supreme Court and went on to win 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the court. As a lawyer, his crowning achievement was arguing successfully for the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, in 1954.” During his years in Washington, Marshall and his family were members of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, where he was affectionately known as “the Judge.” He is remembered as “a wise and godly man who knew his place and role in history and obeyed God’s call to follow justice wherever it led.” Thurgood Marshall died on January 24, 1993: (Great Cloud of Witnesses for May 17). Marshall never looked back; he focused on the equality of all citizens. With hand to plow and no looking back, we too make straight rows.
Let us live to love, more than just love to live, listening to what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John