“Apart From Me You Can Do Nothing”
Wednesday, July 13, 2022
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for 15th Wednesday of Ordinary Time, Year CII: Isaiah 10:5-16; Psalm 94:5-15; Matthew 11:25-27
The Responsorial Psalm gives an assurance we need to heed when the Church appears hopelessly corrupt or ineffective: “The Lord will not abandon his people” (Psalm 94).
In Isaiah 10: 5-16 God declares he is going to humble Assyria, at whose hands God’s People had suffered defeat and oppression because they refused to live as God’s law had taught them. God accepted that Israel should get what they deserved from Assyria, since they had brought it on themselves, but God saw this was not what Assyria intended. “Rather, it is in [Assyria’s] heart to destroy, to make an end of nations….”
Furthermore, Assyria did not recognize that God was in charge. “For he says, ‘By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom.’” Therefore, “When the Lord has finished… [what he decreed for] Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride.”
At times it appears God is allowing evil to triumph over his Church. Usually, except for the most blatant persecutions, the Church brings her humiliation on herself by not being faithful to the principles of the Gospel or to her mission, especially to the poor. And sometimes it is because the Church’s ministers themselves — bishops, priests and laity — have acted as if they had all the knowledge and prudence required to live up to their responsibilities as pastors, teachers, parents and workers of every kind. Every Christian is called to minister in a variety of ways. But every Christian needs to do so in conscious, humble dependence on God and collaboration with others. If they do not, “the Lord will not abandon his people,” but it may look like he has!
Matthew 11: 25-27 reminds us that if we do what is divine we will experience ourselves as divine. But we can only do what is divine through union with Jesus. Only Jesus, God the Son, can truly know God as “Father.” And the only way he can “reveal him” to creatures is to give us a share in his own divine life and knowledge. We know God as Father because we are filii in Filio, sons and daughters in the unique and only begotten Son. Because we are in Christ, we call God “Abba” as he does.1 And in Christ we are called to bear the fruit of divine life, “life to the full.” But we can do nothing of divine value unless Jesus does it with us, in us and through us.
I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 2
Humble union of heart with Jesus Christ is the absolute essential for the ministry of “life to the full.” It also gives us the experience of that life.
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Stay conscious of Christ acting with you, in you and through you.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry