Immersed in Christ: July 23, 2020
Thursday of the Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time
1The Responsorial Psalm urges us to keep remembering that all our good comes from God “You are the source of life, O Lord” (Psalm 36).
In Jeremiah 2: 1-13 God speaks to Israel as his bride: “I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved me as a bride, following me into the desert.” In those days, “Sacred to the Lord was Israel,” and “evil would befall” anyone who touched her.
But then, God says, “your ancestors… went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves.” In particular he reproaches those anointed to minister (as we were at Baptism) as “prophets, priests and kings”:
The priests did not say, “Where is the LORD?” Those who handle the law did not know me; the rulers transgressed against me; the prophets… went after things that do not profit.
The people’s mistake was double: first, they neglected God’s teaching: “They have forsaken me, the source of living waters.” Then they turned to false teachers: “They have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that hold no water.”
We see the same thing happening today: people fail to listen at Mass; they don’t read and pray over Scripture or participate in retreats and adult religious education. Then when they find “no meaning” in the religion they grew up with, they turn to other churches, movements and popular gurus, even to the non-Christian traditions. We can blame ourselves for not ministering to each other as we should. But the bottom line is plain faith in God’s word: “You are the source of life, O Lord.” Either we believe it and look for life in the Church Jesus gave us, or we dig cisterns for ourselves, “broken cisterns that hold no water.”
In Matthew 13: 10-17 Jesus applies to religion the principle: “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
To those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.
We all “have” grace and gifts from God. If, however, we don’t acknowledge them, but act instead as if we “had nothing,” then we will lose what little faith, hope and love were ours instead of growing into the fullness of life. Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full!” His religion is not set up for those who just want the minimum. To ministers who are “lukewarm, neither cold nor hot,” Jesus says, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (John 10:10; Revelation 3: 14-22). Anyone whose sights are set for mediocrity can neither hear God’s words nor communicate them to others, because God’s words are not intelligible to those whose “heart is sluggish” (Psalm 119:32).
Initiative: Be a priest. Lift up your heart and everyone else’s “to the Lord.”
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