Trust That The True Is Good
Thursday: Thirteenth Week of the Year: June 30, 2016
Year II: Amos 7:10-17; Psalm 19:8-11; Matthew 9:1-8
The Responsorial Psalm gives us some reasons for dealing readily with God. An example: “The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just” (Psalm 19).
In Amos 7: 10-17 the priest Amaziah attacked Amos for prophesying King Jeroboam’s death. He rejected Amos’ message because: 1. if the king listened to Amos he would take away his livelihood as priest of a forbidden worship; and 2. Amos dissolved the security he had by being on the king’s side, saying the king’s government was about to be abolished.
For the same reasons we resist God’s word and the words of the “ministers of light” if: 1. they call us to give up something we are attached to or to do something we are averse to; or 2. their message makes us feel fear or anxiety. If we don’t “feel good” about the message, we stop listening to the messenger. That is as stupid as turning off a doctor who says we will die if we don’t change something in our lifestyle!
The Responsorial Psalm reassures us: “The law of the Lord… revives the soul…. is to be trusted…. The precepts of the Lord gladden the heart…. give light to the eyes…. The decrees of the Lord are more to be desired than gold….” To believe this frees us to hear God more readily.
Matthew 9: 1-8 calls us to the conversion of accepting what Jesus really came to give, no matter what false values of our own it threatens. Jesus’ chronic adversaries were first the priests whose power-base he threatened, then the Pharisees, whose first priority was “law and order,” and finally the scribes, the self-appointed “doctrinal police,” who made themselves the defenders of Jewish orthodoxy. They were all flawed with rigid fundamentalism, as are the enemies of the “ministry of light” today. They close their hearts to the experience of God.
There are Jewish fundamentalists, Muslim fundamentalists, Protestant Biblical fundamentalists and Catholic fundamentalists. They all reduce religion to a few doctrines or laws, simplistically formulated, while refusing to see them in the broader and deeper context of their religion’s true spirit — much less in the light of God’s own mind and compassionate heart.
The scribes saw the boundaries of their comfortable world called into question when Jesus, a man, forgave sin. They saw their power threatened when the crowd “praised God for giving such power to human beings” — a mystery beyond their dreams: God empowering humans to act in his name by his living Spirit within them, shattering slavery to frozen doctrines and laws. This is fearful to fundamentalists. But to all who are open to mystery, it is an experience of the power and love of God: “the judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.”
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Let God’s own light shine in your words and acts.