Immersed in Christ: June 23, 2020
Tuesday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm invites us to look with awe and wonder at what God has done and is doing for us and to praise him for his love: “God upholds his city forever” (Psalm 48).
The Israelites of Samaria were defeated and enslaved by the Assyrians. . 2Kings 19: 9-11, 14-21, 31-35, 36 tells us King Sennacherib invaded Judea and “captured all the fortified cities of Judah” up to Jerusalem. Then the Lord promised King Hezekiah of Judea through Isaiah the prophet: “The king of Assyria shall not come into this city…. That very night the angel of the LORD set out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians….Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left [and] went home,” confirming the people’s faith: “God upholds his city forever.”
Faith is most recognizable as faith when there is little evidence to support it. To know we believe in God as the God he really is, we have to go beyond what appears or appeals naturally to us as humans. We have to believe and trust in God’s power and God’s way of using it:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8-9).
In Matthew 7: 6, 12-14 Jesus calls us off the “beaten path” of our cultural assumptions about what is the right and acceptable way to think and act. He calls us to leave the main road and take the steep, narrow path up the mountain: “It is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
There are plenty of “cultural Christians” who water down the Gospel to make Christianity compatible with the “American way of life” (or Hispanic or Vietnamese way; or any other culture’s way) because they want to “fit in.” They know that to live or affirm Christ’s values to people who are caught up in the culture is to invite mockery and hostility. Jesus warns us that in ministering to others we must be careful where we “throw our pearls.” But we must be equally careful not to lose them! Discretion can become self-deception: what we don’t reveal to others can become invisible to ourselves.
The essence of ministry is self-expression. We must give physical, human expression to the invisible, divine faith, hope and love in our hearts — not with naiveté, but with courage, trusting in God’s support: “God upholds his city forever.”
Initiative: Be a priest. Express your faith to all whom it will not harm.