March 17, 2022
Thursday (Week II of Lent)
by Fr. David M. Knight
The RESPONSORIAL PSALM tells us where to look for security: “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord” (PSALM 1). But the Psalm makes clear that this is not just blind hope. The hope that is real is the hope we act on. So the one who “hopes in the Lord” is one who “meditates on his law day and night” to understand it. This is discipleship.
Jeremiah 17: 5-10 says the disciple is “like a tree planted beside the waters, that stretches out its roots to the stream.” True conversion to Jesus is a conversion that reaches to the roots of our life, to the roots of all our choices, and extends those roots to God.
This can take time. We don’t always recognize clearly the attitudes and values, the real goals that guide and determine our choices. Jeremiah says, “More tortuous than all else is the human heart… who can understand it?” True discipleship is an ongoing effort to see with greater clarity what desires are active in our hearts. We grow to the “perfection of love” by continually trying to focus all our hopes and desires on the priorities of Jesus’ own heart: that the Father’s name will be revered, his kingdom come, his will done on earth as perfectly as in heaven…. Gradually we surrender to letting the desires of Jesus rule every decision of our lives. This is to stretch out our roots to him.
Luke 16: 19-31 is a story to make us think. The “rich man” in the story apparently did not have any realization he was seriously sinning. How many of us feel we are in “mortal sin” because we are not proactive in helping the poor? We find the same lack of awareness in Jesus’ description of the Final Judgment (MATTHEW 25: 31-46).
The rich man has five brothers who are as unaware as he was. He begs Abraham to send Lazarus to warn them, “so that they will not also come into this place of torment.” But Abraham answers, “They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.” God urges us over and over, “Listen!” (see Isaiah on Tuesday above: “Hear the word of the LORD… Listen to the teaching of our God….” and Daniel on Monday: “We have sinned and done wrong” because “we have not listened”). The rich man thinks his brothers will listen if Lazarus appears to them. But Abraham responds, “‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”
What will it take to make us disciples?
Initiative: Be a disciple. Take a serious look at your priorities. Give serious time to listening to your own heart and to God at the same time.
Reflections brought to you by the Immersed in Christ Ministry