Immersed in Christ: June 20, 2020
Memorial of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary
In the Responsorial Psalm God promises fidelity to David: “Forever I will keep my love for him” (Psalm 88).
In the Judean kings the pattern seems to be that God is faithful to David’s line but they are unfaithful to him. Jehoram “did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” “Yet the LORD would not destroy the house of David because of the covenant that he had made with David.” Ahaziah, Jehoram’s successor, let his mother Athaliah minister to him as “his counselor in doing wickedly.”
In 2Chronicles 24: 17-25 Joash becomes king and remains faithful to God as long as he has the ministry of the prophet Jehoiada. He even restores the temple that had been desecrated by his predecessor. But in his forties, after Jehoiada died, Joash “abandoned the Temple of the Lord… for the worship of idols.”1
Joash’s son Amaziah “did what was right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with a true heart.” After first following the prophet who ministered to him he later “set up [the gods of Edom] as his gods, and worshiped them.” His son Uzziah, at sixteen, was ministered to by Zechariah, “who instructed him in the fear of God.” But “when he had become strong he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was false to the LORD his God.” His son, Jotham, “became strong because he ordered his ways before the LORD his God.” But his son, Ahaz, worshipped the Baals. 2 How explain this pattern?
The good prophets who ministered to the kings kept them faithful as long as they listened. Without their ministry the kings went astray. But in the Gospel Jesus gives a more basic reason: faithful love is undivided love. If we are influenced in our decisions by anything except God, we are infected with idolatry.
In Matthew 6: 24-34 Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters.” He tells us not to worry about food, clothing, or life itself. For true security, “Set your hearts on God’s kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well.” Any dividedness in the goal toward which we direct our lives is like a crack in a wall that can bring the whole building down. If we allow any desire except loving and serving God to get a hold on us, there is no assurance for the future. Any one of us can join the ranks of those who have lost the faith.
In the absence of a personal prophet, we need to minister to ourselves and check for fatal flaws in the “breadth and length and height and depth” our love for God. 3 To say like God, “Forever I will keep my love for him,” we must love with undivided hearts.
Initiative: Be a priest. Embrace the ministry of wholeheartedness.
1 For the historical background details cited see 2 Chronicles 21: 6-7; 22:3; 24: 2, 4, 18.
2 For these details see 2 Chronicles ; 25:2, 14; 26: 3-5,16; 27: 2,6; 28: 1-3.
3 Ephesians 3:18