A Single Star
Thursday July 7, 2022 (14th Week of Ordinary Time)
by Fr. David M. Knight
In the Responsorial Psalm we pray, “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved” (Psalm 80).
Hosea 11: 1-9 gives an answer to one of our principal motives for sinning. The remedy is, “I am the Holy One in your midst, and I have no wish to destroy.”
We sin because we think religion destroys what is human. We think keeping God’s laws will take away our enjoyment of life. And many Christian ministers have led us right into this trap by emphasizing all the things we must not do. When we balked, because they made morality look miserable, they tried to scare us through the “narrow gate” by telling us that if we didn’t accept religion’s diminishment of life in this world, God would destroy us in the next. They left us a choice between bad and worse. God’s answer to this is, ‘Stop being fixated on my laws; look at me! I am God. I don’t think like human beings. I have no wish to destroy life or diminish it.” Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
God says through Hosea:
They have not understood that I was looking after them. I led them with reins of kindness, with leading strings of love. I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek.
We need to judge God’s laws by God, not judge God by his laws. Until we understand the love behind God’s laws we understand nothing: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved”
Jesus does say, “Enter through the narrow gate.” But immediately before that he says:
Everyone who asks receives… who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. If your child asks for bread, will [you] give a stone?… How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7: 7-14).
To “enter through the narrow gate” is to stop focusing on a “channel” marked out by boundary-marking laws. It is to chart our course instead by the “fixed star” of Jesus himself, aiming at pleasing him in everything we do. Then there is nothing hemming us in: we are on the broad ocean, focused on a star. And yet, there is nothing more “narrow— yet less constricting—than a course that is simply a straight line. “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.”
In Matthew 10: 7-15 Jesus as Savior sends his disciples out on a mission of life and hope: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” These are ministries of healing, life-giving love. If we find anyone who “will not welcome [us] or listen to [our] words,” before we “shake off their dust from our feet” we should ask whether we are really preaching the Good News. Are we showing them the true face of the “Jesus — God saves,” who saves our life both here and hereafter, now and forever? And are we relying on him as “Son of God” more than on human resources? “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.”
Initiative: Give God’s life. Be a “priest in the Priest.” Make Christ as Savior visible in everything you say or do.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry