- Father David M. Knight
Father David's Reflection for Saturday after Ash Wednesday
In the Responsorial Psalm we acknowledge that we are "afflicted and poor." We pray, "Teach me your
way, O Lord, that I may be faithful in your sight" (Psalm 86).
Isaiah 58: 9-14 promises that if we will call our lives into question and try to conform them more authentically to what God calls us to be, then "the light shall rise for you in the darkness.. Then the Lord shall guide you always."
God will not fail to guide us. But we need a little humility. We need to admit that we might not know it all, or know enough to guide our lives by the light of our own judgment alone. It is humility to seek help.
Humility means not making ourselves the criterion: not making our opinion the standard for judging what is true or false, our desires the ruler of what is good or bad. Humility is "to be peaceful with the truth." And the truth is, we don't know it all. The truth is, what we want is not always what is good. It is humility to call our light and our love into question. To seek help.
God promises that if we seek help from him - from his word through reading and reflection, from his Spirit through prayer and discernment - then "I will make you ride on the heights of the earth!" "The Lord will guide you continually. satisfy your needs. renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails." This is not a bad reward for just being honest with ourselves!
Luke 5: 27-32 gives us a concrete example of this. Levi was a public official. He had power and prestige among those who supported the government - although his fellow Jews despised him for collaborating with the Romans.
Then he looked up one day and saw the face in the window - Jesus' face looking into his customs booth. All Jesus said to him was, "Follow me." And right then all the self-doubt and moral misgivings that had been unsettling Levi's heart came into focus, and Levi just got up and left with Jesus.
He left his job, but not his friends. He "gave a great reception for Jesus in his house" - a pretty big house, we can assume - "in which he was joined by a large crowd of tax collectors and others."
It shocked the Pharisees that Jesus would eat with people who were not in "good standing" with their Church ("church" means "assembly," the kahal Yahweh of Israel). Jesus basically answered that if they would call their own good standing into question, they could join them! Full participation in the Mass is not for the self-righteous, but for avowed sinners who can say, "Teach me!"
Initiative: Be a disciple. Come humbly to Jesus saying "Teach me your way!"