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  • Father David M. Knight

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

The Responsorial (Psalm 69) calls us to remain aware that the only real answer to any of our needs is God:

Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.”

In Exodus 2: 1-15 we see God saving Moses from physical death; first by putting him into a “basket” that floated — more precisely, a “chest,” which is the same Hebrew word used for Noah’s “ark” in Genesis 6:14. In Christian tradition Noah’s ark has become a symbol for the Church, in which we are saved.

The name “Moses,” in Hebrew Mosheh, is like the Hebrew mashah, which means “to draw out.” In Christian tradition, we are actually saved by going down into the water of Baptism, as into death, and being drawn out again or raised up as members of Christ’s risen body.

God also saved Moses from spiritual death, because Moses was a murderer. In spite of this, God chose him to “draw out” his people from slavery by leading them out of Egypt in the great Exodus. And all of us who are “drawn out” of sin and death through Baptism are consecrated as priests in that same Baptism to “draw out” others through ministry.

Jesus took all of sinful humanity into his body on the cross. He “became sin” through identification with us and carried us — and all our sins — down into the grave in his body when he died. By “baptism into his death” we died in Christ and our sins ceased to be part of our history, because our lives were ended. Then we rose in Christ to live a new life, with no record or remnant of former guilt: a “new creation.” But just as Jesus died “so that” he might save us from death and rose “so that” he might continue to extend the fruits of his death to the world in us, his risen body on earth, so we died and rose with him in baptism “so that” we might “walk in newness of life” and “bear fruit for God.” Like Moses, we were “drawn out” of sin and death to minister.[1]

If we ever feel discouraged about the results of our ministry, Matthew 11: 20-24 tells us Jesus himself did not convert everybody: it was “the towns where most of his miracles had been worked” that he “began to reproach with their failure to reform.” But he didn’t give up. The answer to resistance is persistence. All true ministry aims at conversion, which is more than a reform of behavior. True conversion is metanoia, “repentance” that involves a deep change of mind, heart and will; deep, personal choices about the foundation, the principles and the goal of one’s whole existence. This doesn’t come easy. We keep trying.

In every Mass, we join ourselves to Christ on the cross, as we did at Baptism, to give up our lives in his death and take them up again in his resurrection. We ask in the fourth Eucharistic Prayer “that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him.” Henceforth we live only to let Christ live in us.[2]

Initiative: Be a priest. Keep ministering and leave results to God.

[1] Romans 6:4-6. 7:4; Colossians 2:12; 2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15.

[2] Galatians 2:20.

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