Father David's Reflection for Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent
To understand the Response to the Responsorial Psalm we need to read it as it appears in the whole Psalm: "Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you deliver them" (Psalm 106).
The Psalmist takes for granted God is going to help his people; that is what God does. "For their sake he remembered his covenant, and showed compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love." He is asking God to act in the same way toward him. In the Mass Response we are asking God to re- member us as his people: to be consistent with himself, based on what we already know of him.
Exodus 32:7-14 is a kind of role-playing: Moses and God are reversing roles. God reacts to his people's infidelity the way any normal human being would, and Moses takes the role of God and reminds God to act according to his true nature. He asks God to remember his promises and what is unique about him: his "steadfast love" (Psalm 106: 1, 7, 45).
Moses is revealed as a good disciple here. When God tests him by taking the adversary role, Moses answers by reciting back to God what God himself has taught him. And we have to do the same. When we have questions or doubts, or when we "just assume" that God could not still be loving us, we look for the answer, not in what we are but in what God is. And for the key to what God is we keep going back to the words "steadfast love."
Luke 5:31-47 tells us what discipleship is all about, and what the essential requirement for it is. Discipleship is simply the effort to grow in knowing God through Jesus. Jesus said, "I came that they might have life, and have it to the full." "And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (John 10:10; 17:3).
The essential requirement for this is faith. Jesus said to those who did not accept him, "The Father...has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent."
To "know God," intellectual knowledge is not enough. We have to "hear his voice" and "see" him, experience him. His word must settle in our hearts. But this only happens when we choose to interact with him with live, personal faith. We pray. We deal with him personally in the sacraments. We do things for him consciously. We praise and thank him. Through all this we get to know him. Then we know what to expect.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Express your faith by interacting consciously with Jesus at Mass, when you pray, when you act by his principles.