Immersed in Christ: February 25, 2020
Throw your cares on the Lord, and he will
(Responsorial: Psalm 55)
James 4:1-10 lists some of our problems and gives an answer to all:
Where do the conflicts and disputes among you originate? Is it not your inner cravings....What you desire you do not obtain..... You do not obtain because you do not ask. You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly....
We need to learn what to ask God for. We learn it by reading the word of God, which teaches us to love what God does.
Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God?... Therefore, submit to God.... Draw close to God and he will draw close to you.... Purify your hearts.... Be humbled in the sight of the Lord and he will raise you on high.
If we have the humility to admit we don’t know it all, that we may not be seeing things right, and show that humility by “going back to school” as students of Jesus, he will teach us.
But we need to register; that is, commit to coming to class on a regular basis.
In Mark 9:30-37 Jesus, like a good teacher, repeats his “doctrine of the cross.” But his students “failed to understand his words.” Because they did not want to understand. “They were afraid to question him.” Afraid they might hear the answers.
How many Christians today ask about the Church’s teaching on war? Or about the united stand the Pope and all the bishops took against the initiation of war in Iraq? Their opposition to the death penalty? How many really want to know the Church’s teaching on social justice? Nonviolence? Who reads about it, asks about it? Or about the obligation Vatican II says “every Catholic” has to “aim at Christian perfection”? How many are afraid to ask whether studying Scripture is an obvious duty for all who believe it is the word of God?
Who in the Church is willing to confront Jesus’ words here about ambition (for example, desiring to be a bishop or to be “promoted” to archbishop of a more important city); and the duty of those in important positions not only to be the “servants of all,” but to show that they are by refusing all special titles and protocols of prestige? How many are willing to face the worldwide ruin that the desire for power and prestige has brought down and is still bringing down on the Church? The titles and dress of the hierarchy may seem to be a little thing. But if they are, why did Jesus speak so strongly about them, and why do the hierarchy find it impossible to give them up? Will the 2011 revolts of the young against autocratic rulers in the Middle East inflame a similar revolt in the Church against the top-down, non-consultative rule of the Vatican and bishops? Re-read Edwin Markham’s The Man With The Hoe:
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands, How will the future reckon with this man? How answer his brute question in that hour When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
We fear to read the words of Jesus and take them seriously. To do so would raise questions we may not want to face. But we will face the consequences.
Initiative: Think out of the box. See if you find Jesus already there.