Immersed in Christ: August 20, 2020
THURSDAY of the TWENTIETH WEEK in Ordinary Time
I will pour clean water on you and wash away all your sins.
(Responsorial: Psalm 51)
In Ezekiel 36:23-28 the Lord says, “I will prove the holiness of my great name.” Our prayer, “Hallowed be thy Name!” commits us to discipleship, that we might know God and make him known. We dedicate ourselves to the mission of bearing witness to him when we continue: “Thy Kingdom come!” But our love reveals itself as the “steadfast love” of God when we surrender to letting Christ minister in us and through us with a defenselessness of expression that is undaunted and undeterred: “Thy will be done!”
For this we need encouragement. We find it in the victory Christ promises and that we ask for when we pray for the “end time”: “Give us.., [the Bread of the banquet] and forgive us....” The “wedding banquet of the Lamb” requires a context of total mutual forgiving. In Ezekiel God promises this:
I will prove the holiness of my great name.... The nations shall know that I am the LORD when in their sight I prove my holiness through you.
The defectors will return:
I will... gather you from all the foreign lands, and bring you back to your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
He will renew us within as prophets:
I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking [away] your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.
We will live by the “gift of the Spirit,” following his living voice with love:
I will put my spirit within you and make you live [authentically] by my... decrees.
Then we will experience victory as stewards of his kingship. We shall live in the land I gave your fathers; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
These are the fruits of our ministry as “priests in the Priest”!
Not all ministers are faithful. In Matthew 12:14-21, Jesus is addressing “the chief priests and elders.” By implication, they were the ones who “ignored the [king’s] invitation... laid hold of his servants, insulted and killed them.” The king said they “were unfit to come.” High position in the Church guarantees a place in the liturgical celebration of the “wedding banquet” (the Mass), but not at the event itself!
Those who come to Mass appear to have accepted the invitation. But the king throws out those without a “wedding garment,” because they didn’t really come to celebrate a wedding. It is scary to think of how many at Mass are not really there to celebrate.
Initiative: Listen to the invitation. Keep conscious of what it promises.
1 See John 8:32, and Opening Prayer, 14th Sunday of the Year.