The interaction between Jesus and the Apostles offers an important spiritual insight. When we keep the Cross of Christ before our eyes we are able to dispel petty disputes, irritations, and inconveniences as we focus on what is truly important.
Both Sirach and Jesus offer some practical, earthy spiritual wisdom:
You will know the tree by the fruit it bears.
In other words, if you want to learn about the hidden parts of a person, then it is important to listen and observe the practical things that they say and do in a consistent manner over time. If a fruit tree is diseased, the fruit will be affected.
With respect to our interactions with one another, this insight is particularly powerful as a way to understand the people in our lives. Now mind you, for this to be effective we must look for patterns of behavior; anyone can “fake it” in the short run, but when we regularly and consistently speak and act over time our behaviors reveal the content of our hearts.
Have you ever heard of the “Waitress Rule” in business or leadership? Some leaders will purposely take potential employees out for dinner to watch how they interact with servers. What the leader is looking for is how the person treats the waiter or waitress – a person who has no power or authority. If the person is respectful and kind it is often a good indicator that they will be the same way toward fellow employees; if the person is haughty, rude, demanding or in any way unpleasant…it is often an accurate indicator that they will be the same way at work.
Yep, you heard that right. Love your enemies. Love one another when it’s hard and unpleasant and we don’t feel like it. Love the people who push all our buttons and make us see red. Love the people who have hurt us. How? By asking for the Love of Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts.
Jesus is transfigured in heavenly glory before some of the disciples, and then he reminds them of the suffering and death that await him on the Cross. Both of these elements help us to understand how we confront the grim challenges of life with a real and powerful hope.
On this feast of the Chair of St. Peter, we hear how Peter acknowledges that Jesus is the Christ. The Lord affirms that Peter is the rock upon which the Church will be built, and while Satan will try to destroy it, the gates of the netherworld will not prevail.
God states that the rainbow is a sign of the covenant between the Lord and all living things, reminding us that the gift of life is precious, holy, sacred…and meant to be lived to the best of our ability.