Restoring Harmony

Restoring Harmony

BY JAMES GUMATAOTAO | September 11, 2023
Sunday’s Readings

At the center of Indigenous Chamorro spirituality is the spirit of Inafa’maolek. For centuries Chamorros have been guided by harmony with the goal of remaining in harmony with all things. Chamorro scholars make the argument that Inafa’maolek assumes the original order or harmony has in some way been severed and must be restored. To restore harmony, one must take on the responsibility of working to meet the needs of others and the environment.

The watchman in our reading from Ezekiel has the responsibility to warn the people of danger—in this case, the impending attack from God. If the watchman fails to warn people, the watchman is responsible for their death. But if the people do not listen to the watchman, only they bear the responsibility for their death.

While the author of Matthew does not strictly speak of death, we hear of the responsibility that one has if one sins against another. Beyond that, the scholar Daniel Harrington argues that the text outlines the process by which the member who sins can be brought back into full communion with the community. This three-tiered process affords one every opportunity to acknowledge the harm done, seek truth, and to listen with others. Theologian Barbara Reid emphasizes that regardless of the nature of the harm, Jesus may be advocating that “Christians be willing to sit and break bread together, even while resolving their differences.”

Restoring Harmony

Pope Francis is right when he says the heartbeat of humanity, creation, and God do not beat in harmony. To grow, “we need to harmonize our rhythms of life with those of creation.” Our readings today are indeed a reminder of what is needed to restore harmony. While we do not have the knowledge of Ezekiel, one can assume that harmony has been broken. So let us acknowledge and seek the truth of how we as individuals and as a species have broken harmony and have failed to love. Now more than ever, we must listen and work together at every level to renew our commitment to being responsible stewards of creation. It is in taking up our responsibility that we harmonize our heartbeats with nature and each other.

As we journey through the Season of Creation, let us take every opportunity to harmonize our heartbeats with that heartbeat of the created world. The harmony of all our heartbeats is indeed a song of praise before God and the culmination of our fundamental call to love.

For Reflection:

  • Acknowledge: In what ways have you broken harmony with creation? How have the organizations we are involved in failed to listen to the heartbeats of creation?
  • Act: How can I be attentive to the heartbeat of others? How can I keep myself and others accountable for failing to listen?
3 replies
  1. Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr. Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    “How can I be attentive to the heartbeat of others? ” What is it that the person needs from the presence of God today. How can I be the one that lets them know God is with them in every thought, word and deed and He wants us to assist one another in listening and being with the other. In the morning when I go to the hospital for a minor procedure how can I support the person who is doing that procedure so they know they are with God fully in Body, mind and spirit.? How can I assist the lawyer who is taking care of the accident that occured that sense of God with him. Through prayer and thoughtful interaction we can help his presenece made known to each other. At Mass we ask God to continue the graces that we need to share that same presence for the rest of the day. We will meet many who have been affected by 9/11 and say a prayer for and with them.

  2. sonja
    sonja says:

    How can I be attentive to the heart beat of others?
    By being still in nature. While gardening today I was aware of a robin. I said hello and the little robin stayed by me, hopping around and continued to chat to me. If I wasn’t in harmony, he would have flown away when I spoke.
    It was much nicer gardening with one of God’s creatures than being alone.
    It was a joyful experience to be in harmony with the little robin.
    To be in harmony with the homeless is more difficult. But I will keep trying.


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