Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent
The Responsorial Psalm is a profession of faith that all our good and protection lie in God: "The
Lord of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob" (Psalm 46). This also provides us with a key to guide our discipleship.
Ezekiel 47: 1-12 is in fact, although Ezekiel didn't know it, a prediction about the fruits of Baptism. The true water that "gladdens the city of God" (Psalm 46) is the life-giving water of Baptism. "Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live."
Jesus came that we might "have life, and have it to the full," and he initiates this by giving us a share in God's own divine life through Baptism. As we live out the grace and commitments of our Baptism, this divine life in us increases, like the stream of water Ezekiel saw flowing out of the temple. If we have this divine life, we are united to Jesus Christ in one shared life, which means that nothing can really harm us. For us even death is a blessing. It is our entrance into the party going on in heaven, the "wedding banquet of the Lamb" (Revelation 19:9). To know this is to see everything on earth through different eyes. It is to direct our lives by a different guidance system.
Luke 5: 1-16 gives us a guide to discernment. There are many currents of thought in the Church, many voices we can listen to. At the present time there is a strong current running counter to the direction of the Second Vatican Council. The excesses of some who called more things into question than the Council intended generated a "backlash" movement in the Church, a "new Phariseeism," which is pressing for automatic (that is, unthinking) obedience to every directive from the Vatican. These people are insisting on an equally unthinking affirmation of every teaching that the pope or one of the Vatican departments has proposed as the "official" (but not infallible) teaching of the Church. How do we know whether theirs is the voice of the Holy Spirit?
Today's story gives a key. Jesus' adversaries totally ignored the fact he had made a lame man walk. They focused only on the fact the lame man "violated the Sabbath" by carrying his mat home. And they "began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a Sabbath."
When people focus more on laws than on what gives life, they are probably out of touch with Jesus and the true spirit of the Church. We need to look behind their words to the spirit that inspires them.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Follow the laws that give life. Remember that it is true obedience to try to achieve the goal of the law - which is always to give life.