Immersed in Christ: July 2, 2020
Thursday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm gives us some reasons for dealing more readily with God. An
example: “The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just” (Psalm 19).
In Amos 7: 10-17 the priest Amaziah attacked Amos for prophesying King Jeroboam’s death. He rejected Amos’ message because: 1. if the king listened to Amos he would take away his livelihood as priest of a forbidden worship; and 2. Amos dissolved his security in being on the king’s side, saying his government was about to be abolished.
For the same reasons we resist God’s word and the “ministers of light” if: 1. they call us to give up something we are attached to or to do something we are averse to; or 2. their message makes us feel fear or anxiety. If we don’t “feel good” about the message, we stop listening to the messenger. That is as stupid as turning off a doctor who says we will die if we don’t change something in our lifestyle!
The Responsorial Psalm reassures us: “The law of the Lord… revives the soul…. is to be trusted…. The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart…. give light to the eyes…. The decrees of the Lord are more to be desired than gold….” To believe this frees us to hear God more readily.
Matthew 9: 1-8 gives us an example of how Jesus was attacked in the Gospels for the same reasons Amos was. His chronic adversaries were the priests whose power-base he threatened, the members of the “law and order” party (the Pharisees), and the self-appointed “doctrinal police,” the scribes, who made themselves the defenders of Jewish orthodoxy. They were all flawed with fundamentalism, as are the enemies of the “ministry of light” today.
There are Jewish fundamentalists, Muslim fundamentalists, Protestant Bible fundamentalists and Catholic “magisterium” fundamentalists. They all reduce religion to a few doctrines or laws, simplistically formulated, while refusing to see them in the broader and deeper context of their religion’s true spirit — much less in the light of God’s own mind and compassionate heart.
The scribes saw the boundaries of their comfortable world called into question when Jesus, a man, forgave sin. They saw their power threatened when the crowd “praised God for giving such power,” not just to Jesus, but “to men.” This was an unacceptable mystery: God empowering humans to act in his name by his living Spirit within them, shattering slavery to frozen doctrines and laws. This is fearful to fundamentalists. But to all who are open to mystery, “the judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.”
Initiative: Be a priest. Let God’s own light shine in your words and acts.
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