Immersed in Christ: May 8, 2020
Friday, Week Four of Easter
The Responsorial (Psalm 2) recalls what God said of Jesus at his baptism and Transfiguration: “You are my Son; this day I have begotten you.” Jesus is not just a prophet; he is the divine Son of God. This gives special meaning to the Father’s words, “Listen to him.” 1
Peter announces in Acts 13: 26-33: “We bring you the good news that what God promised to our ancestors he has fulfilled for us… by raising Jesus.” But his point follows in verses 40-41:
Beware, that what the prophets said does not happen to you: “Look, you scoffers! Be amazed and perish, for in your days I am doing a work, a work that you will never believe, even if someone tells you.”
If God said of Jesus. “You are my Son…,” the news about him is not something to take lightly.
It is arguable whether the worst response to the Good News is to deny it by refusing to believe, or just to ignore it by refusing to take a stand. Only once do the Gospels say Jesus was “angry.” He had asked the Pharisees a question and they were “silent.” Just refused to answer. Jesus “looked around at them with anger… grieved at their hardness of heart.” If they had answered, even with the wrong answer, he could have argued with them and perhaps convinced them. But there is no way to communicate with stone silence. 2
This may not be as rare as we think. How many people, even among those in church, have never taken a deep, conscious, personal stand toward the Good News of Jesus Christ? We think first of the youth, of course: those who are present at Mass but obviously not participating in any personal way. They aren’t denying anything they have been taught or anything their parents believe — not yet — but they are just not getting involved in it. They are inside of the church but outside of the action. They have not really taken a stand yet toward the Good News. Or toward Jesus. Or toward what is going on in the Mass. (It is all the same thing). They may not even be aware of it. Dangerous.
How many adults are almost as uninvolved? Many may have made the decision to keep “going to Mass,” and “obeying the rules” in the Church, but without giving to Jesus Christ the kind of total, personal, all-embracing response God called for when he said, “This is my Son… listen to him!”
That is why every Mass, during the Presentation of Gifts, invites us to recommit, to declare ourselves personally and publicly by sending up a host that represents us to be placed on the altar as a sign of our response to the Good News. It is an important moment; not one to take lightly.
In John 14: 1-6 Jesus says, “Believe in God, believe also in me.” Or “Trust in God; trust in me.” In practice, we reveal (and experience) our real faith by where we place our trust. If we really believe Jesus is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life” we will be serious about learning his truth and following his way. If not, we don’t really want his Life.
Initiative: Declare yourself. Come alive during the Presentation of Gifts.
1 Matthew 3:13-17, 17:1-5. 2 Mark 3:1-5.