Immersed in Christ: March 23, 2020
Monday, Fourth Week of Lent
The Responsorial (Psalm 30) is an acknowledgement each one of us needs to make. Frequently. “I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me.”
What kind of God comes through in Isaiah 65: 17-21?
Lo, I am about to create a new heavens and a new earth.... There shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create. For I create Jerusalem [read “the Church”] to be a joy, and its people to be a delight.
Larry, a Baptist minister, told at a dinner party how his loving wife was the one who kept order in the family. She got their daughter Jane off to school, regulated the TV, and kept the candy down. But Larry didn’t conform: “I just gave Jane everything she wanted.”
One morning, when his wife left for a trip, Jane said, “I don’t want to go to school today.” “Great,” Larry laughed, “Let’s take a holiday!” The other mothers at table all looked horrified as he told how they just stayed home for the rest of the week. Watched television. Ate junk food. Had a ball.
Before his wife’s return Larry suggested to Jane, “You know, there are some things mommy doesn’t need to hear.”
Isn’t the Church like a mother to us? Loving, but conscientious. Mothers set the rules. They keep family life ordered. That is their job. It is necessary. But it isn’t the whole picture.
Can you see God the Father acting like this Baptist minister? One Sunday you wake up, see glorious weather outside, and say to the Father, “I don’t want to go to Mass today.” Can you imagine God the Father laughing and saying, “Fine! Let’s take a holiday!” And making sure you have one of the most enjoyable days of your life?
Do you see disapproving glances among those who read this? But wouldn’t you guess Jane did not follow the rebellious “minister’s daughter syndrome” when she became adult? Wouldn’t you bet she is still going to church?
Please don’t tell anybody what you read here. There are some things everybody doesn’t need to hear!
How does Jesus come through in John 4:43-54? According to the “rules” the official didn’t qualify for a miracle. Jesus’ standard remark to those he cured was: “Your faith has made you well.... According to your faith let it be done to you.” Jesus reproached the official for lacking it: “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you do not believe.”
But the official saw in Jesus more than someone who lived by rules, even his own! He appealed directly to Christ’s heart, the law of all laws, to the love that gives life: “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus said, “Return home. Your son will live.” Then he believed. In Christ’s love.
The man believes “the word spoken to him.” ...He had [not] acquired perfect faith, but it was a beginning..... The cure appears to be not so much the cause of the man’s faith [as] its consequence; signs and faith in the word go together. 1
Love won his faith. Hearing God’s word with faith in his love is discipleship.
Initiative: Obey the rules, but... interpret them according to the Father’s heart.
 See Matthew 9:22.29; 17:20; 21:21-22; John 10:10; 21:15-18; Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1968.