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  • Writer's pictureImmersed in Christ

Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle

Thursday, November 30, 2023

by Fr. David M. Knight

View readings for Thursday, 34th Week of Ordinary Time:

Lectionary no. 684 (Rom 10: 9-18; Ps 19: 8,9,10,11; Mt 4: 18- 22)(Feastday reflection; daily reflection follows).

Their message goes out through all the earth. (Responsorial: Psalm 19)

Romans 10:9-18: The key to all Paul says here is human expression. Christianity is the religion of God-made- flesh in Jesus; and our response to him must be more than just “spiritual.” It has to “take flesh” in human words and actions.

It is not enough to “confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord.” Jesus himself said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (see Matthew 7:19-27; Luke 6:43-49).

But Paul continues “If you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.” Both are necessary. “Faith in the heart leads to justification, confession on the lips to salvation.” Those who believe without giving expression to it fall short of being Christians, just as those do who live exemplary lives according to what we call “Christian principles,” but just don’t believe in Christ or in the Church. The formula for full Christian living is “fully human, fully divine.” We need to live the divine life of God as completely as possible, while using and activating everything we can in our human nature.

Most “sins and errors” in Christian spirituality result from making life an “either or” between the divine and the human instead of a “both-and.” We affirm one by denying or downplaying the other. Thus we sometimes feel we have to choose between reason and faith; or between the “institutional” and “charismatic” Church. We make obedience to Church authority more “divine” by neglecting the human elements required for good government— consultation, subsidiarity, constructive criticism, accountability—or more human by insisting on all of the above while forgetting to discern the voice of the Spirit in all the members of the community, including author- ities. We make liturgy more “divine” by making it humanly unintelligible (for example, retaining Latin after it had ceased to be understood, thus shrouding the action on the altar in “mystery”); or we make it more “human” by neglecting expressions of reverence (genuflecting, silence) that remind us we are in the presence of God. We try to become more “spiritual” by being less “physical,” or we indulge the body to the point of neglecting what nourßishes the soul. We commit to ecology as if there were no Creator, or we wor- ship God as if we were not “stewards of creation.” The answer to all this is both human and divine, not either-or (see Bishop Patrick Dunne, Priesthood, pages 83-84; and Preface V for Sundays).

Matthew 4:18-22: Jesus makes his mission dependent on human workers. But he works with, in and through them.

Action: Be whole: live as a human and as God.

Daily Reflection

“Thy will be done!”

The theme of the readings is our dying and rising as “priests in the Priest” and “victims in the Victim.” We celebrate this in the Eucharistic Prayer. We also pass from the dedication implied in “Thy Kingdom come!” to the deep surrender of “Thy will be done!”

Daniel 6:12-28 parallels the passion and resurrection of Jesus. Because “the king thought of giving him authority over the entire kingdom,” out of jealousy the court officers “tried to find grounds of accusation against Daniel” as the chief priests and Pharisees did with Jesus. But as with Jesus, “they found none.” They “could accuse him of no wrongdoing.” So they got the king to enact a law against praying to anyone but him. But Daniel “continued his custom of going home to kneel in prayer.” And just as Jesus was praying in the garden when the crowd arrived to take him, Daniel’s enemies “rushed in and found Daniel praying and pleading before his God” (see Matthew 26:36-47, 59-60; 27:18; Mark 3:1-2; 7:37; 15:8-13; John 11:45-53; Daniel 6:4-11).

Pilate wanted to save Jesus, but the Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die.” So “he handed him over to them to be crucified.” Darius wanted to save Daniel but his officers insisted, “Every royal prohibition is irrevocable.” So Darius “ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den” (John 19:4-16; Matthew 27:24-26).

When Jesus was put into the grave they “rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.” When Daniel was cast down, Darius “sealed with his own ring... the stone that had been brought to block the opening of the den” (Mark 15:46).

“The king rose very early the next morning and hastened to the lions’ den,” just as in the Gospel, “Very early on the first day of the week... they went to the tomb.” After rising, Jesus said “Peace be with you!... As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” After Daniel rose out of the lions’ den, “King Darius wrote to the nations and peoples of every language, wherever they dwell on the earth, ‘All peace to you!... the God of Daniel is to be reverenced.’” The reading ends, “His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be without end.” “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mark 16:2; John 20:21).

In Luke 21:20-28 Jesus prophesies that Jerusalem will die. And not only Jerusalem: “Nations will be in anguish. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth.” But Jerusalem will rise as the “new Jerusalem,” and there will be a “new earth, when people will “see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” When Jesus repeated this before the Sanhedrin, when all thought it obvious God had abandoned him, it could be nothing but a claim to be God himself. It sealed his fate. We celebrate all this in the Eucharistic Prayer (see Revelation 21:1-5; Matthew 26:63-66).

Action: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Give life through dying to self.

Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry

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