Immersed in Christ: July 9, 2020
Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time
In the Responsorial Psalm we pray, “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved” (Psalm
Hosea 11: 1-9 gives an answer to one of our principal motives for sinning. The answer is, “I am the Holy One in your midst, and I have no wish to destroy.”
We sin because we think religion destroys what is human. We think keeping God’s laws will take away our enjoyment of life. And many Christian ministers have led us right into this trap by emphasizing all the things we must not do. When we balked, because they made morality look miserable, they tried to scare us through the “narrow gate” by telling us that if we didn’t accept religion’s diminishment of life in this world, God would destroy us in the next. They left us a choice between bad and worse. God’s answer to this is, ‘Stop being fixated on my laws; look at me! I am God. I don’t think like human beings. I have no wish to destroy life or diminish it.” Jesus said, “I came that they might have life, and have it to the full.”1
God says through Hosea:
They have not understood that I was looking after them. I led them with reins of kindness, with leading strings of love. I was like someone who lifts an infant close against his cheek.
We need to judge God’s laws by God, not God by his laws. Until we understand him we understand nothing: “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved”
Jesus does say, “Enter through the narrow gate.” But immediately before that he says:
Everyone who asks receives… who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. If your child asks for bread, will [you] give a stone?… How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! 2
To “enter through the narrow gate” is to stop focusing on the “channel” marked out by laws and chart our course by the “fixed star” of Jesus himself, aiming at pleasing him in everything we do. There is nothing more “narrow” than a straight line — or less constricting. “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.”
In Matthew 10: 7-15 Jesus sends his disciples out on a mission of life and hope: “Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.” These are ministries of healing, life-giving love. If we find anyone who “will not welcome [us] or listen to [our] words,” before we “shake off their dust from our feet” we should ask if we are really preaching the Good News. Are we showing them the true face of Jesus? “Let us see your face, Lord, and we shall be saved.”
Initiative: Be a priest. Show the face of Christ in everything you say or do.
1 John 10:10.
2 Matthew 7: 7-14;
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