Choose To Be
Saturday, August 13, 2022, 19th Week of Ordinary Time, Year CII
by Fr. David M. Knight
View readings for today: Ezekiel 18:1-32; Psalm 51:12-19; Matthew 19:13-15
The Responsorial Psalm expresses both accountability and trust: “A pure heart create for me, O God” (Psalm 51).
Ezekiel 18:1-32 tells us that our first ministry is to ourselves. We are both empowered and responsible to create ourselves as the persons we will be for all eternity.
God begins by rejecting the excuse that others make us what we are:
What do you mean by repeating this proverb… “The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge”? As I live, says the Lord GOD, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel.
We will not be judged good or bad because of what our parents or any other person is. And we will not be rewarded or punished because of what any other person does, including our children.
It is only the person who sins that shall die. If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right… such a one is righteous; he shall surely live, says the Lord GOD.
The reason is that we are responsible only for what our own choices make us, because in the eyes of God; and by his true measure of human value, what we are is what we make of ourselves by our free choices. Everything else — our physical and mental endowments, inherited or culturally implanted characteristics, psychological advantages or woundedness, things done to us or said about us, even our past record of repented sins — are nothing but realities to deal with. The response we are making to them right now — in free choices — is the true and present reality of our being. Our response is our true identity and value in the eyes of God. This is what determines the true meaning of our names.
To be human is to be a capacity for response. Everything we encounter in life is nothing but an occasion for response. We are all, without exception, lovable to God because we all have the capacity to become. God is that One who simply wants us to esse et bene esse, “to be and be everything we can be.” What defines his Being as Creator is his free choice to invest everything he is in what we can become: his “steadfast love.” No matter what we have done or are doing, God says to us, “Get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!....For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord GOD. Turn, then, and live.”
Our response to God is, “A pure heart create for me, O God.” True, we create ourselves by our choices. But to be all that we can be we need to be made divine by grace.
In Matthew 19:13-15 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…” The younger we are, the more we approach being pure “capacity for response.” It is true we have fewer formative choices to our credit, fewer scars that speak of conflict and courage. But the positive side is that we are closer to pure openness. Earlier Jesus said, “Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The triumph of Jesus is to give us “life to the full” For this we have to remain open.
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Offer yourself in every Mass to be transformed.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry