- Father David M. Knight
Father David's Reflection for Second Monday of Lent
The Responsorial Psalm is an admission that we are always "falling short" of the (divine) level of life to which we are called: "Lord, do not deal with us as our sins deserve" (Psalm 79).
Daniel 9: 4-10 shows us why we fall short: "I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, 'Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have not listened.'"
We don't live in an abstract world. We live in the concrete reality of a world in which God has spoken, Jesus has come to earth, died, risen and shared his divine life with us. For us, to live out anything less than the divine life of God is to "fall short," which is a Scriptural word for "sin." We have to live in a way that lets the glory of Christ's life in us shine out to the world.
This is one of the reasons we assemble on Sundays to worship together: left to ourselves we will not enter sufficiently into the mystery of what we are and are called to be. Our best intentions to find and follow the right path will fall short. Why? Because we need the reinforced light of communal reflection, communal sharing, communal celebration. Jesus did not come to be our personal guru. He came to call us into a community, his Church, in and through which he would guide and teach us, strengthen and encourage us, and constantly set before us the mystery of his continuing presence on earth.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me. so that the world may know that you have sent me. (John 17:10-22).
It is in the Church, with all her faults, that we find the glory of God.
In Luke 6: 36-38 Jesus alerts us to focus, not just on what we do, but on the standard we are trying, perhaps unconsciously, to live up to when we decide what to do: "for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." We must not slip into the error of judging things on a scale of human goodness. The only appropriate standard for us to use is the life of God himself. We are called and empowered by grace to live on the level of God. When Jesus says, "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful," we should understand, "Do whatever you do just as your Father does it." If we do anything less, "we have not listened." We are failing as disciples of Jesus.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Check the standard you are using whenever you make a decision. Ask yourself, "What level am I trying to live on here? Human or divine?"