What is important to God, and what is just 'Dust in the Wind?'

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. ~ Ps 1:4, 6

Most of us are so removed from agricultural realities that we fail fully to embrace the image of chaff in today’s psalm. I recall a field trip with one of my children many years ago to a historic farm where the docent demonstrated the process of threshing and winnowing. The grain was spread out on the threshing floor, beaten with flails and then tossed up into the air with a wooden winnowing fork. The scaly husks that surrounded the seed—lightweight, no longer important—vanished into the breeze.

Advertisement

Perhaps we might think of chaff as the human externals of our lives: where we work or study or live, what positions of status or importance we hold, how we dress and what we drive and whom we know. The wheat is our spiritual interior: our dedication to a life of faithfulness in prayer and service to others.

RELATED: To subscribe to these Advent reflections, sign up here and check "Digital Content Updates." 

On the face of it, there is nothing objectionable about holding a good job or studying at a prestigious university or driving a nice car—as long as our real focus is on God. But if our pursuit of these goods interferes with our ability or desire to deepen our relationship with God, that, my friends, is a problem.  Ultimately, the jobs, the degrees, the nice houses, are all chaff in God’s eyes—they do not make us virtuous or worthy. What matters is that we walk the way of the just, under the sheltering protection of God’s love.

RELATED: Read all of our Advent reflections for 2016

Watchful and loving God, Help me discern which of the many paths before me is the path of the faithful, and give me the courage to walk it. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

So what does it matter what a celibate woman thinks about contraception?
Helena BurnsJuly 20, 2018
Former US President Barack Obama gestures to the crowd, during an event in Kogelo, Kisumu, Kenya, Monday, July 16, 2018. (AP Photo Brian Inganga)
In Johannesburg, Obama gave what some commentators consider his most important speech since he vacated the Oval Office.
Anthony EganJuly 20, 2018
With his "Mass," Leonard Bernstein uses liturgy to give voice to political unease.
Kevin McCabeJuly 20, 2018
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington, arrives for the Jan. 6 installation Mass of Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Women often “bring up the voice of those who are the most vulnerable in our society,” says Hans Zollner, S.J., who heads the Centre for Child Protection in Rome.