Immersed in Christ: July 14, 2020
Tuesday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time, also Memorial of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin
The Responsorial Psalm calls us to trust that God will achieve what is humanly
impossible: “God upholds his city forever” (Psalm 48).
In Isaiah 7: 1-9 the “bottom line” is, “Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm!”
It is hard to win people through ministry to seek “life to the full.” People are inclined by culture and by human inertia to settle for less: to settle for a religion than makes them feel adequately secure in an adequately good relationship with God. Why break out of bounds to do more than we have to? Why seek “perfection” if just keeping the commandments is enough to be “saved”? 1 Why go to Mass every day if we only have to go once a week? Why read the Scriptures if no Church law says we have to? Why make retreats, attend parish missions or join discussion groups? Why read more about religion when we have completed the religious education classes required for First Communion and Confirmation? Why seek the “more” when enough is enough?
Isaiah prophesies victory against these odds and all others that seem hopeless. But the real battle is
not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…. 2
In our ministry against these forces we need to believe with the same faith and hope Isaiah demanded of Ahaz, “God upholds his city forever.” “Unless your faith is firm, you shall not be firm” in urging yourself and others to seek “life to the full.”
In Matthew 11: 20-24 Jesus gives a dire warning about the consequences of complacency. He says it will be worse for the “good” people who had the true religion God gave his People — and who settled for that instead of accepting the “more” Jesus offered — than for the non-Jews of Tyre and Sidon who did not know God’s word, and even for the unspeakably corrupt people of Sodom! 3
Woe to you, Chorazin…. Bethsaida! If the miracles worked in you had taken place in Tyre and Sidon, they would have reformed in sackcloth and ashes…. I assure you, it will go easier for Sodom than for you on the day of judgment!
Who rejected Jesus? It was above all the public “law observers,” the Pharisees, and “the chief priests and the elders of the people!” — those who were just good enough to think they were good enough. Who accepted him? The “tax collectors and the prostitutes” who knew they needed more.4 Those who reject “life to the full” will be left in the living death of stagnation.
Initiative: Be a priest. Never despair of urging people to the “more.”
1 Matthew 19: 16-26.
2 Ephesians 6:12
3 Genesis 13:13, 19: 1-25
4 Matthew 21:23-32.
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