Immersed in Christ: July 28, 2020
Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm focuses our hope on what God is, not on what we are: “For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us” (Psalm 79).
In Jeremiah 14: 17-22 we see the true role of the prophets. It was to confront the people with the cause of their affliction — which was their departure from the way of life God had shown them — and at the same time to give hope through the proclamation of God’s “steadfast love.”
Jeremiah prays, “Lord, we do confess our wickedness and our ancestors’ guilt: we have indeed sinned against you.” But his focus is more on what God is than on what humans have done. He continues, “For your name’s sake” — because of who you are — “do not reject us…. Do not break your covenant with us.” Jeremiah holds out hope based on Scripture’s definition of God as steadfast love and fidelity” — that is, on God’s nature as God has revealed himself — but also on the historical fact and event of the covenant God made with his People. “Because of what you are and because of what you have done, have mercy on us.”
This is the role of Christian ministers: to give expression to what God is by letting Jesus, risen and living in them, express his true self through their words and actions, and to make it evident that in and through them Jesus is continuing the ministry he performed on earth: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
In Matthew 13: 36-43 Jesus explains that it is not his fault or God’s that there is so much sin and error in the world. Jesus did indeed “sow good seed in his field.” There is nothing wrong with the authentic teaching of the Church. And the power of God’s life (grace) is not only still at work in her ministry and sacraments; it is even visible in the “good seed” of those who are faithful. But in the world, and even within the Church, “the enemy” comes and sows “weeds among the wheat.” We should expect to find some sin and error, both in ministers and in those ministered to. In each of us there is a mixture of good and bad, truth and falsity, sin and saintliness. If we try to “cast out” from the Church all who are sinners, or just to exclude them from ministry, we will have to reject everyone, including ourselves! Jesus’ way is to let the “weeds and the wheat” grow up together, to withhold judgment until time reveals the deep — and final — orientation of each one’s heart. In the end God’s glory will be revealed: “Then the virtuous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” for the glory of his name.
Initiative: Be a priest. Let the “good seed” of grace express itself in you.
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