Immersed in Christ: July 21, 2020
Tuesday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm expresses what we expect from God! “Lord, let us see your kindness” (Psalm 85).
Micah 7: 14-20 gives us some characteristics of the ministry we hope for from God as our Shepherd.
First we ask him: “Shepherd your people with your staff.” We ask God to lead and guide us. We want direction, and we want it from God.
Then we ask him to nourish us: “Let them feed… as in the days of old.” We remember that things were good for us when we listened to God’s word and were enlightened by his Spirit.
We ask him to let us see and experience his power saving and helping those whom he shepherds: “Show us wonderful signs.” God doesn’t just point the way; he empowers us to follow it.
We ask him to “remove guilt” — not just to “pardon,” but to “cast into the depths of the sea all our sins.” Through his death Jesus, “Lamb of God,” purifies us, takes away our sins, make us truly clean in heart and mind and soul.
Finally, we trust God to be the God of steadfast love and fidelity: “You will show faithfulness to Jacob and grace to Abraham.” This is “a virtual definition of God” in the Scripture (see Monday, week 14 above.) It encourages us to pray with confidence always, “Lord, let us see your kindness.”
In Matthew 12: 46-50 Jesus identifies us with himself — as sons and daughters of his own Father. “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me.” This means he also identifies us with himself as the Good Shepherd: as his ministers:
Whoever listens to you listens to me…. You are the light of the world…. Do you love me?…. Feed my sheep (Luke 10:16; Matthew 5:14; John 21:17).
So we must lead and guide each other as shepherds, nourish each other, trust in God to do marvelous things through us. And we must show that for us the sins of those who repent have been taken away, they don’t exist, even as part of their “record.” Above all we must model God’s steadfast love and fidelity.
It may surprise us that Jesus included the word “mother” when he said, “Whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to me.” But it means we must be for him in his body on earth all that we trustingly expect Mary, as his mother and ours, to be for us! That gives us another model for ministry! “Lord, let everyone see and experience your kindness in us!”
Initiative: Be a priest. Let Jesus shepherd his sheep and show his kindness with you, in you, and through you.
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