Immersed in Christ: June 27, 2020
Saturday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
The Responsorial Psalm asks God with trust to turn and come back to “those places that are utterly ruined.” We can never be so bad or bad off that God cannot or will not help us. “Lord, forget not the life of your poor ones” (Psalm 74).
If we ever think that the Church — or our society — is in bad shape, Lamentations 2: 2, 10-14, 18-19 will give us terms to describe it worse than we could ever imagine. The whole book is a vivid description in graphic images of “how the Lord in his anger has humiliated daughter Zion!”
The Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe…. He has thrown down from heaven to earth the splendor of Israel.1
God was not the cause of Israel’s suffering. God’s People chose to free themselves from his reign and his laws. This immediately enslaved them to sin, and their sins bore the natural fruit of conduct contrary to reason, right order and love. The Book of Lamentations describes that fruit in terrifying physical images which give only a hint of the more terrifying spiritual devastation that produced them. And at the heart of this was the failure of those called to minister:
The visions your prophets had on your behalf were delusive, tinsel things. They never pointed out your sin to ward off your exile. The visions they proffered you were false, fallacious, misleading.
Jesus came to bring about the ultimate restoration. He is the true Light of vision to walk by. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.2 But Matthew 8: 5-17 shows us that Jesus counts on us to continue his ministry on earth. It is in us and through us that people will contact Jesus and he will minister to them.
A centurion came to Jesus, begging him to heal his servant who was “lying at home paralyzed.” When Jesus offered to come, the centurion said Jesus did not have to be physically present to heal: “For I also am a man… with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes.” Jesus then healed “long-distance” by a word of command.
Today Jesus sends us as his ministers to all in need, but not long-distance. In us Jesus is physically present, ministering in and through us as his real body on earth. By sending us Jesus can be present throughout all space and time, giving more than physical healing. He heals spiritually, saves, guides, strengthens and comforts through ministry. This is his answer to the prayer, “Lord, forget not the life of your poor ones.” He responds in us.
Initiative: Be a priest. Let Jesus act in you and through you where you are.
1 Lamentations 1:5.
2 John 14:6.