Today’s post on Sibling Rivalry is #MyMassTakeaway for the Mass readings on 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Find the Mass Readings here: 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, September 23, 2018
My takeaway: Sibling Rivalry
Today’s readings were basically describing daily life in our house.
The first reading.
Those wicked men insist on provoking the righteous men to anger. Let’s see how mad we can make him. Let’s see how far we can push our limits until he loses his cool.
Constantly picking and jabbing. Wondering if that righteous man will react.
If my kids don’t do this on the daily, I don’t know what they do.
They’ll be playing all nice and suddenly somebody grabs somebody else’s toy. If that doesn’t incite screaming, they’ll kick over their tower. If that still doesn’t do it, fists may start flying.
Jesus just told his apostles he was going to die.
And what do they do? They look for some opportunity to turn this around for their benefit. They start arguing about their personal advancement.
I mean, c’mon, guys, where’s your compassion?
And then Jesus asks, “Hey guys, what are you arguing about?” Silence. Nobody wants to admit to fault.
If this isn’t every argument between my kids.
I had it first. No *I* had it first.
My tower is bigger. My Lego creation is better.
I ask them what they’re arguing about: “Nothing.” Seriously, guys, I just heard you! Somebody fess up or everybody’s going down.
Biblical Approach to Sibling Rivalry
How can I handle this frustrating dynamic between children?
The letter of St. James. It starts with the word: “Beloved.”
That’s where I need to begin right there.
I often jump into discipline from my frustration. The whining and fighting and bickering get to me. They set me off. And I go at them with the same angry, destructive attitude as my kids have.
But this reading reminds me to start with love.
Calm my voice and use those sweet words that will help me connect with my kids. “Honey, sweetheart, buddy.” Get down on their level and make a connection before I try to solve any problems.
And then the reading proceeds calmly.
It focuses on the good. It talks about consequences. It talks about motives. It helps the listener understand what they’re feeling, and how their current actions aren’t producing the desired effect.
It redirects the listener to a better course of action that will actually produce the desired effect. It promotes peace, and coaches the listener on how to obtain it.
This is a discipline model for my family.
Start with love. Be a calm and gentle coach.
Help my kids understand their emotions. Help them see the futility of their current course of action. Walk them through the steps of obtaining the results they want. Show them the way of peace and virtue.
This is how to address sibling rivalry.
Receive Children in Jesus’ Name
This is how I love my children and “receive them in Jesus’s name.”
Childhood is a school. A place where kids learn to love. Learn how to behave, how to do good, how to grow in virtue.
And I need to accept that my kids aren’t going to have it all sorted out right now. They’re not supposed to.
What would my job as their parent even be for, if they had life perfectly figured out?
No, my job is to love them as they are. The moldable, formable children God gave me right now.
Not just to love the person they will become, but to love the person they are today – in the process of learning and growing and becoming.
And not loving in the sense of happy, smiley all the time. But loving in the sense of receiving them. Accepting them. Seeing Christ in them. And wanting what’s best for them.
Not just desiring to stop the behaviors that are annoying me. But desiring with all my heart to teach them a better way – a way that will help them be followers of Jesus.
And then doing it.
A Prayer for Parenting
Jesus, give me the grace to receive my children in your name.
Every day, every moment, let me receive them.
Every behavior – good or bad, let me receive it.
Help me respond to them with constant love.
Help me teach and discipline and mold them from a place of love, and not of frustration.
Guide me, that I may teach them to be followers of you, Jesus.
“Can you imagine the difference it would make if we all served each other instead of wanting to be served? Can you imagine how we could transform our marriage? How we could transform the world?”
I love this reminder to serve others with self-sacrificing love!
I really loved Amy’s self-reflective thoughts she shared about the readings today.
She’s challenging me to look at myself in a new light. To recognize my faults and weaknesses, and ask God for the grace to be a better me.
“Every single day I have to ask God for the grace to be patient, kind, and humble. I simply can’t do it on my own. Thank God He loves us enough to help us whenever we ask.”
I love that Mary thought ahead, and picked a quote from the readings to display and reflect on all week. What a perfect way to prepare for Sunday Mass!
“And this one is poignant indeed. For family life, Church life, social life, discernment, and personal examination…so convicting, so good.”
Heather reminds us today that the Gospel’s no fluffy, easy-lane message.
The Gospel includes suffering. It’s hard. But by picking up our crosses and bearing them, we can find peace.
“Jesus didn’t promise an easy ride, he promised peace. Peace is tranquility and faith DESPITE your crosses not instead of them.”
I want to know your Mass Takeaway too! Comment with your thoughts on the readings, your pastor’s homily, or anything that struck you during your time at Mass.