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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Saturday of Week Thirty-Four (Ordinary Time)

"Their message goes out through all the earth." (Responsorial: Psalm 19)

Romans 10:9-18: The key to all Paul says here is human expression. Christianity is the religion of God-made- flesh in Jesus; and our response to him must be more than just “spiritual.” It has to “take flesh” in human words and actions.

It is not enough to “confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord.” Jesus himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (see Matthew 7:19-27; Luke 6:43-49).

But Paul continues “If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.” Both are necessary. “Faith in the heart leads to justification, confession on the lips to salvation.” Those who believe without giving expression to it fall short of being Christians, just as those do who live exemplary lives according to what we call “Christian principles,” but just don’t believe in Christ or in the Church. The formula for full Christian living is “fully human, fully divine.” We need to live the divine life of God as completely as possible, while using and activating everything we can in our human nature.

Most “sins and errors” in Christian spirituality result from making life an “either or” between the divine and the

human instead of a “both-and.” We affirm one by denying or downplaying the other. Thus we sometimes feel we have to choose between reason and faith; or between the “institutional” and “charismatic” Church. We make obedience to Church authority more “divine” by neglecting the human elements required for good government— consultation, subsidiarity, constructive criticism, accountability—or more human by insisting on all of the above while forgetting to discern the voice of the Spirit in all the members of the community, including authorities. We make liturgy more “divine” by making it humanly unintelligible (for example, retaining Latin after it had ceased to be understood, thus shrouding the action on the altar in “mystery”); or we make it more “human” by neglecting expressions of reverence (genuflecting, silence) that remind us we are in the presence of God. We try to become more “spiritual” by being less “physical,” or we indulge the body to the point of neglecting what nourishes the soul. We commit to ecology as if there were no Creator, or we worship God as if we were not “stewards of creation.” The answer to all this is both human and divine, not either-or (see Bishop Patrick Dunne, Priesthood, pages 83-84; and Preface V for Sundays).

Matthew 4:18-22: Jesus makes his mission dependent on human workers. But he works with, in and through them.

Initiative: Be whole: live as a human and as God.

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