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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Fourteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 17) gives us the fruit of engaging in ministry: “In my justice, I shall see your face, O

Lord.” In trying to give Christ to others we grow in knowledge and love of him — and of ourselves.

Genesis 32: 23-33 marks a turning point in Jacob’s life and mission. “The cunning Jacob becomes the divinely commissioned Israel, father of the chosen people and the special object of God’s protection.” Jacob relied on his wits. He had cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright by a ruse, and now he is about to meet Esau coming toward him with 400 men! Jacob sends his wives, children and possessions across the river and remains alone struggling all night with God, or an angel (Hosea 12:4) and in any case, with the truth of his life, character and fragility. In the end he comes out a wounded but wiser man, walking with a limp but blessed with the experience of mercy from one who could have killed him. Jacob has learned to trust. He throws himself on Esau’s mercy, and God moves Esau to forgive.[1]

Ministry is a humbling experience. In trying to be Christ for others we come face-to-face with ourselves. We struggle sometimes with ourselves and with God. Finally we learn that we don’t bear fruit for Christ; we surrender to him and let him bear fruit through us. We learn that Jesus has chosen to play with a team that limps — and can still win.

Matthew 9: 32-38 shows us that Jesus can empower people to speak, even if he has to expel demons to do it! This means first of all to speak words of response to his invitations. But it also means to teach, preach and share our faith with others — not necessarily in a classroom or from a pulpit, but to teach constantly, by words and example, in all our ordinary occupations. We do this by letting Jesus speak with us, in us and through us.

Jesus’ ministry was to tour, teach, proclaim the good news and heal. He continues to do all of this in us: where we go, he goes. In our every act, our body language, words, smile, way of dealing with others, Jesus teaches his message. In the “fruit of the spirit” manifest in us — love, joy, peace, etc. — he proclaims the Good News. And through our love he heals — especially through the love displayed in the community whenever and wherever it gathers. But the key is surrender, seeking union of mind and will and heart with Christ and letting him act in and through our bodies as he will. Then we will know him as we make him known. “In my justice, I shall see your face, O Lord.”[2]

Initiative: Be a priest. Surrender and trust. Let Christ act through

[1] See Jerome Biblical Commentary 1968.

[2] See Galatians 5: 22-23.

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