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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

by Fr. David M. Knight


May 28, 2024

Tuesday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Lectionary 348

1 Pt 1:10-16/Mk 10:28-31

 


If getting holier doesn’t make us more joyful, something is inauthentic.


That should be obvious. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” And, “I have said these things so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 10:10, 15:11).


What part does being in the Church play in this? Does it give us joy (not complacency, not a sense of superiority) to know we are united—to know we are one—vertically in time, and horizontally in space, with all who affirm with us “one Lord, one faith, one Baptism” (Ephesians 4:5)?


Let’s make it more personal. Are you glad to know you have the same faith as St. Francis of Assisi? That you say the same prayers at Mass that he said, receive the same sacraments, with the same belief in them that he had, and have the same devotion—even if not as much—that he had to Jesus, Mary, and the Saints?


If Francis were on earth today, would you gather with the community he gathers with on Sunday? What if St. Teresa of Avila were there? St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Catherine of Sienna, and all the famous Christian mystics whose writings have inspired millions for centuries? The lovable and loving St. Thérèse of Liseux? Would you find joy mixing with them, being a part of what they are a part of, knowing you are a kindred spirit with them?


If you find your Christian community uninspiring, include the invisible members who would be there if they were still on earth or living in your town. It is with them that you choose or refuse to assemble. You believe what they believed. You relate to their teaching and example. Pope Francis says, “Rejoice and be glad!” Embrace the Church. Get holy.


ACTION: Get to know some saints.


PRAYER: “Lord, I am not worthy...”


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

by Fr. David M. Knight


May 27, 2024

Monday of the Eighth Week of Ordinary Time

Saint Augustine of Canterbury, Bishop

Lectionary 347

1 Pt 1:3-9/Mk 10:17-27

 

God spent centuries driving it into the heart of his people that there is only one God. “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Then, with Jesus, he revealed the full mystery: God’s oneness is multiple: Three Persons in one God.


The Three Persons differ by their relationship with each other. By nature they are one and the same. Since God’s nature is infinite, without any limitations, what one Person has, all have. What one can do, all can do.


Not so with creatures. Humans with the same nature can have its characteristics in different degrees. One can run faster, another think more clearly. Men and women have complementary sexual organs—equally human, because ordered to the same end, but each incomplete. In God, nothing is limited, nothing incomplete. The Three Persons do not differ by limitations; only by their relationship to each other.


Relationships are defined by interaction. The Father “generates” the Son. The Son, as “Word,” expresses—or rather, is the expression of—the self-knowledge the Father has had from all eternity. The Spirit unites—is the unity of—all three Persons in love. But all are equally—completely, infinitely—Being, Goodness, Truth, and Love. And undividedly One.


If this makes complete sense to us, we don’t understand it! A “mystery” is a truth that invites endless discovery. But it does tell us that the fullness of being is found in relationships, because with God, to be is to be in relationship. Therefore, we need to seek “holiness” through relationship with God and others, because to be “holy” is just to “be” completely. The fullness of life is the fullness of relationship.


We will apply this later to life in the Church.


ACTION: Interact with God and others.


PRAYER: “Lord, be with me.”


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

by Fr. David M. Knight


May 26, 2024

Trinity Sunday

Lectionary 165

Dt 4:32-34, 39-40/Rom 8:14-17/Mt 28:16-20

 


We baptize in the name of "Father, Son and Spirit." Many people are asking today whether the masculine images of God are too restrictive. Should we now begin to speak of God as "Father and Mother, Son and Daughter, and Spirit"?


The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us that it is good to remember that the being of God is beyond human sexual distinctions. God is neither man nor woman, but God, and transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, even while being the origin and measure of both (#370).


In Scripture God is described sometimes, although rarely, in feminine terms. In Isaiah God says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child, / or show no compassion for the child of her womb?/ Even these may forget,/ yet I will not forget you"; and "As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you." And Jesus says of himself, "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!"


For us who are alerted to the restrictiveness of thinking of God in any one gender, it can be helpful to reflect on the feminine characteristics of God. Psychologists tell us it is good for all of us to get in touch with that opposite side of our nature: our animus or anima. But by inspiring Saint Paul to describe the Church's relationship to Jesus as that of bride to bridegroom, God gave men a special reason for doing this. Theologically, every one of us who is baptized into the Church, the Bride of Christ, is a "bride in the Bride." Our gender usage gives women the advantage in relating to Jesus as spouse, because the correspondence of the language to their own sexuality makes it natural for them. On the levels of mystical union, if we judge from even male writers like Saint John of the Cross, for example, it is almost impossible not to put oneself in the bride's role with relationship to God. That would seem to put men at a disadvantage.


If we go beyond ("transcend”) language, however, and look at God's self – revelation, even in and through the masculine human nature of Jesus, there are ways in which God takes on characteristics that are not only feminine, but more specifically, those of Bride, and to which even men can relate.


The way God chose to save the world through Jesus was not the way of authority and force which we often associate with maleness. It was through chosen powerlessness, vulnerability and surrender. Jesus came to "bear witness to the truth" in love. He came that we might "have life and have it to the full." He came to teach, to heal and to nourish, to nurture us: "The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." At the climax of his redemptive mission on earth he hung naked and vulnerable on the cross, his heart open for all time to all who would come to him.


In the Hebrew Scriptures God is present but hidden behind a "cloud" which "protects the glory of God against impure looks." Once a year the high priest could penetrate the temple veil which closed off access to the Holy of Holies. But now the temple veil is torn, and Jesus has given us all access to deepest intimacy with God by "opening up a way through the veil of his own flesh." God invites us with passionate love to total knowledge and union.


God chose to be revealed as "Father" and "Son." We would be foolish to reject that imagery. But we need not restrict ourselves to it.


Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry




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