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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Wednesday of Week Thirteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial Psalm assures us that, despite appearances, “The Lord hears the cry of the poor” (Psalm


God made it clear from the very beginning that we are all called to be ministers to one another. Each of us is “our brother’s keeper” (see Genesis 4:9). But too often, like Cain, we treat one another in ways that are cruelly destructive. In Genesis 21: 5-20 we see Sarah insisting that Hagar and her baby be driven out into the desert to die. Given the depths to which we can sink in our human selfishness, this does not surprise us. But God tells Abraham to go along with it! Why would God permit such evil? That scandalizes us. Many turn away from God because they find no answer to this.

Hagar was left without an answer too — until in her despair God repeated the promise he had made about her son earlier to reassure Abraham: “I will make a great nation of him also.” Then God led her to water and saved their lives.

People fail to minister to each other; and some minister at times in ways that are actually destructive. But God never fails to minister and to lead us to the “fullness of life.” That is true. We could and should deduce it just from what we know God is. But we don’t always see it. And when what we do see is death staring us in the face, or pain and horror actually taking place, it is hard to believe it.

So we have to go one step beyond our time-frame — if necessary, to the end of time itself, when all things will be made well again and all will rejoice together at the “marriage feast of the Lamb.” Then “God will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more,” and all that caused us sorrow will have “passed away.” In the meantime we trust and believe that “the Lord hears the cry of the poor.”[1]

In Matthew 8: 28-34 Jesus expels demons from two men living like savages in the tombs. The demons enter into a herd of pigs, and the herd rushes into the sea and drowns. After that, “the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.” Perceiving that Jesus was dangerous to pigs, they preferred to keep their possessions and be possessed by them than to lose their sins at the cost of their swine. Is that really so uncommon?

Our ministry will not always be acceptable to people — not because it will really do them harm, but because they perceive it that way. We need to be understanding, patient and wait. At all times “the Lord hears the cry of the poor.” And in their own time. many will hear his.

Initiative: Be a priest. Be patient with those who feel threatened.

[1] Revelation 19:9; 21:4.

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