Throughout the summer, we have heard Gospel readings according to Luke. These readings recall Jesus sending out his disciples preparing communities before Jesus arrived to speak to the nations. In our second reading we come across the word “discipline” on multiple occasions throughout the Hebrews’ writing.
In high school, my basketball team lost a game badly and we could tell our coach was not happy. The next day before practice I asked my coach, “What’s our punishment going to look like at practice?” To which he responded, “I am not going to punish you guys, I am going to discipline you.” This was confusing because I always thought those words went hand in hand. Running up-backs seemed like discipline and punishment all in one to me. The word punishment is defined as “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense.” In other words: you do the crime; you do the time. This saying had me seeing a lot of time-out chairs growing up. The word discipline on the other hand comes from the root word disciple. The word I normally looked at as the same thing as punishment, is actually based off of the root word for a teacher. When we get disciplined, we are being taught a lesson. Everyone has times in their lives they believed their parents or school leaders “punished” them for no reason. However, as the reading says, God disciplines us because we are his sons and daughters. Just like our father and mother discipline us. God would never punish us; he would only help us learn a lesson and make us stronger. We just have to have faith in his doing. We must take these times we were disciplined and learn from them so that we can satisfy others and satisfy the Lord, which brings us to the Gospel of Luke.
“The last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” When I first heard this line, I was at a Bible camp and my team collected the most items in a scavenger hunt. At the end of the game, the leader of the camp took a few of our items, gave them to the team that had the least and quoted this Bible verse. At ten years old, handling a loss especially when I should have won was not my strong suit. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve always kept that saying in my head and still never understood it. Well here I am and now I have to write a reflection on it. After hearing the Gospels during the summer and getting more out of them I have gained a better understanding of what this line meant. Jesus is teaching us to be selfless and put others before us. Taking care of ourselves before others may be the easiest thing to do, but is it the right thing to do? Those who are rich in mind, body, and spirit, who put themselves after others will be the first let into the kingdom of Heaven. Those who put themselves before others will have a tougher time entering God’s house. As Franciscans we are encouraged to build a sense of community, welcome in those who are in need with open arms and work together so that we all prosper. No one person should benefit more than another. If someone is down, give them a hand and the Lord will reward you. That is one of the best things about going to Neumann University; we are not just a community, we are a family.