Immersed in Christ: August 17, 2020
MONDAY of the TWENTIETH WEEK in Ordinary Time
You have forgotten God who gave you birth.
(Responsorial: Deuteronomy 32:18-21)
Ezekiel 24:15-24: Ezekiel’s wife died suddenly. He surrendered, even in his grief, to letting God use this tragedy to give a message to the people. God told him not to observe the mourning customs so important in his culture. Then, when the people asked him why, he was to say, “You shall do as I have done, not covering your beards nor eating the customary bread....” It was a dramatic gesture to impress upon them how dramatic would be the ruin their sins were bringing about. Nebuchadnezzar was going to capture and destroy Jerusalem, and they would be deported as slaves without time or means to make mourning for their dead.
Thus says the Lord GOD: I will now desecrate my sanctuary, the stronghold of your pride, the delight of your eyes, the desire of your soul. The sons and daughters you left behind shall fall by the sword. Ezekiel shall be a sign for you: all that he did you shall do when it happens. Thus you shall know that I am the LORD.
In Matthew 19:16-22 Jesus is also calling for a dramatic gesture. He begins by challenging a man’s use of the word “good”—whether as applied to Jesus himself as “good Teacher” (Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18), or to the good we have to do to have eternal life (Matthew). Either way, Jesus’ point is that, for Christians, “good” means “divine.” Jesus is not just a “good” human teacher; God is speaking in him. And has to be, because what Jesus teaches is not just “good” human behavior; it is life on the level of God. Just keeping the Commandments is not enough. Jesus calls for a dramatic gesture to show we understand.
If you wish to be perfect [live the perfect life, Christianity], go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Jesus is talking about more than possessions. To follow him we have to give up everything human life holds out to us: not just “houses and fields,” but “father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself.” What he offers is the “pearl of great price.” To possess it we have to trade everything, absolutely everything created that we cherish. Unless we give all, we won’t realize that what we are being offered is All. “Eternal life” is not just human life prolonged. It is the Life of God himself, divine life. For this Life we must give our lives. “For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.” 1
Actually, we make this dramatic gesture at Baptism, when we accept to “die” to this world in Christ and rise again to live in it only as his body on earth.
We need to understand this.
Initiative: Be aware that you gave up your life to let Christ live in you.
1 Matthew 13:46; 16:25; 19:29; Luke 14:26. View Today's Readings Here