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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

A Friend Who Gives Us Focus

by Fr. David M. Knight

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Week V in Ordinary Time; Memorial of St. Paul Miki & Companions, Martyrs

Lectionary No. 330

1Kings 8:22-30; Psalm 84; Mark 7:1-13

"Can it indeed be that God dwells on earth?" 1Kings 8:27

Don’t we all resonate to the Psalm’s words:

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord.

My heart and flesh cry out for the living God.

Isn’t this the direct opposite of the kind of religion Jesus accuses the Pharisees of practicing and teaching:

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.

This leaves us with a clear choice: either focus on Jesus as friend, or forget about Jesus and focus on the rules and practices of our religion.

Yes, religion includes both rules and relationship. But we cannot focus on both. We either focus on relationship with Jesus and keep the rules as an expression of that relationship, or we focus on rules and just ask Jesus to help us keep them—however they happen to be interpreted in our time—without personal understanding of the mind and heart they express.

In practice, this makes our religious goal, not union with God, but avoiding “the loss of heaven and the pains of hell.” That is to live life in reverse gear.

Jesus lives “life to the full” (John 10:10). If we interact with him, so will we. The Life of the Trinity is relationship.

Friendship is interaction. Interact with Jesus and your whole life will be relationship.

ACTION: Make rule-keeping relationship.

PRAYER: “Lord, be with me. Let me be with you.”

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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