Immersed in Christ: May 7, 2020
Thursday, Week Four of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 89) affirms God’s faithfulness and “steadfast love,” even when we are unfaithful and he appears to have forgotten us: “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
In Acts 13: 13-25 Paul reminds his hearers they are a chosen people, and that God has “made this people great” by guiding their history through chosen individuals, some of whom sinned and betrayed him: “The God of this people chose our ancestors....” He mentions the judges, the prophet Samuel, and the kings Saul and David, about whom “God testified, ‘I have found David... to be a man after my own heart, who will fulfill my every wish.’”
We need to remember that David was a rapist who betrayed and murdered a loyal officer to cover up his crime. God punished him for that, but did not withdraw his love or the promises he made to David. Does that say something about his fidelity to us? 1
When Paul reminds us of the great things God has done and is doing through his people, do we choose to be part of it? At every Mass the Presentation of Gifts invites us to make or reaffirm that choice. We hear the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?” And we are called to respond: “Here am I; send me!” Under the symbols of bread and wine we place our own bodies and blood on the altar as a “living sacrifice to God.” We present our bodies, as Mary did, to be the Body of Christ: “Here am I... let it be with me according to your word.... This is my body, given for you.” 2
In John 13: 16-20. Jesus makes clear that betrayal by his chosen ones does not mean he was deceived: “I know the kind of men I chose.” He told them ahead of time about Judas “so that when it takes place you may believe that I AM” (that is, God: Exodus 3:13-15). Judas was a good choice. But he had free will and sinned. If he had repented like Peter he could have been as great as any of the Twelve. Jesus would have stood by the call he gave him.
He extended this: “I tell you, whoever accepts one whom I send accepts me; and... accepts him who sent me.” Unfaithful ministers, whether laity or clergy, bishops or popes, are not a reason to reject Jesus or the Church — or even the ministers themselves, if they repent. The danger they are to others may exclude some from ministry, as all child abusers must be excluded absolutely. But we do not exclude them from the Church or from our love. Once they have “turned back” like David and Peter, their sin is “taken away.” 3
At Baptism all of us “presented our bodies as a living sacrifice,” and promised not to be “conformed to this world.” But we all fail. So at every Mass, in the Presentation of Gifts we present ourselves again. And are accepted. 4
Initiative: See God’s fidelity also, whenever you see your own or others’ sins.
1 2 Samuel 11:1 to 12:27. In 1 Samuel 13:14 God calls David “a man after his own heart.” Read Psalm 89. 2 Isaiah 6:8. See Luke 1:38, 22:19; Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 2:13, 10:5-7. 3 Luke 22:31-34. 4 Romans 12:1-2.