Father David's Reflection for Saturday of the Fourth Week in Lent
The Responsorial Psalm tells us where to look for support and confirmation when we feel alone in our faith: "O Lord, my God, in you I take refuge" (Psalm 7).
In Jeremiah 11: 18-20 the prophet has become aware that his enemies "were hatching plots" against him. He had not realized this, and it was a blow to him.
It is always hard to realize that people not only disagree with us but actually dislike and condemn us because of what we believe. We are members of the human race and members of particular communities that mean a lot to us: family, our circle of friends, our co-workers, our church. When these people, on whom we normally rely for support, turn against us, it can shake our confidence.
It can also drive us closer to God. This is what happened to Jeremiah. It made him turn to God, recognizing God as the "just Judge," the true "searcher of mind and heart," whose judgment about us is the only one that counts. St. Paul did the same thing later, when he said to his adversaries, "with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. It is the Lord who judges me" (1Corinthians 3: 3-4). We need to keep this criterion in mind if we are going to be free and open disciples of Jesus, with our thinking unswayed and undistorted by public opinion.
In Luke 7: 40-53 controversy is still raging about Jesus. And still people are asking the wrong question, making a big issue about whether he came from Nazareth in Galilee or Bethlehem in Judea. But the argument against him that his enemies appeal to most strongly is just the fact that none of "the authorities or the Pharisees" believe in him. (The Pharisees were vocal and emphatic about their opinions, and since they made it their business to study up on the law - and to condemn anyone who disagreed with them - people were afraid to argue with them). The Pharisees dismissed the opinions of the rest of the people as worthless: "This crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed." Uneducated members of the "crowd," hearing that, would be hesitant to condemn themselves by voicing any disagreement.
If we are going to be disciples of Jesus, we have to make sure that Jesus himself, his words and example, are the criterion by which we judge truth - not popular opinion or the propaganda of pressure groups.
Initiative: Be a disciple. Look to Jesus for security and the confirmation of your beliefs- prayerfully reflecting on his words, trying to read his mind and heart.