Immersed in Christ: July 31, 2020
Friday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
also, Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Priest
The Responsorial Psalm invites us to have confidence when our ministry arouses hostility: “Lord, in your great love, answer me” (Psalm 69).
In Jeremiah 26: 1-9 the prophet is threatened with death by his own people for preaching what they do not want to hear. This is something we must be on guard against, both in giving and receiving ministry. Those who are not ready for the message will attack it and then turn on the messenger:
Do not give what is holy to dogs; and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under foot and turn and maul you (Matthew 7:6).
On July 4, 1859, Fr. Eli Lindesmith with his “catechism classes and Sunday school publicly celebrated Independence Day” near Canton, Ohio. He wrote that the non-Catholics were “astonished, and desired to hear more from me, and more about us Catholics.” They started inviting him to speak in “school houses and town halls and even Protestant churches,” which he did “on the condition that the Pastors and church authorities, school directors and town councils gave their consent.” But some Catholics, “who had lately come from Europe, and who had not yet learned what we can do and ought to do in free America” were “perplexed.” Some, “even priests,” said: “He will create disturbances, we shall be persecuted; they will burn our churches as they did in Philadelphia in 1844.” They denounced him to the bishop and spread rumors he had left the Church and “was now a Protestant preacher.” Why? Because he acted “out of the box” (which here means “as moved by the Holy Spirit”), and many people are threatened by anything new (The Amazing Father Lindesmith – Chaplain in Indian Country, by James Kolp, St. Raphael Center, Canton, 2004, firstname.lastname@example.org). That is why some Catholics called Vatican II “Protestant” and left the Church, while some still among us resist union and shared worship with other Christians. The Catholic “Pharisee party” condemns any thought or action “out of the box” with fundamentalist fervor! The ministry of peace arouses conflict!
In Matthew 13: 54-58 when Jesus preached in his home town the people were “astonished” (cp. “perplexed” above). He wasn’t “the carpenter’s son” they were used to, and they could not adjust to the change. In this case they rejected the message because of the messenger.
All Christian ministry is God acting through human instruments. To make it more acceptable, we have to be as godlike as possible in word and action, but without ever refusing to minister because of our faults.
Initiative: Be a priest: Follow the Spirit in spite of the flesh.
View Today's Readings Here