Be Aware To Make Aware
Saturday: Sixteenth Week of the Year: July 23, 2016
Year II: Jeremiah 7:1-11; Psalm 84:3-11; 36:6-11; Matthew 13:24-30
The Responsorial Psalm affirms a truth we should all experience: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!” (Psalm 84). The readings tell us that we have a part in creating and maintaining the appeal of God’s house to others.
Jeremiah 7: 1-11 warns us not to assume that we or others will find God in the Church just because he is there. Whether we are talking about the church buildings or the Church that worships in them, the experience that we have of God’s presence in the Church will depend on the expression that we give of his presence in our hearts. We need to reveal in words and actions the divine life of God that is in us.
If you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly act justly one with another…. then I will dwell with you in this place.
If we are not recognizable as “temples of the Holy Spirit” in our words and actions, God will ask about the “temple made with hands,” “Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers?”1
Some who no longer assemble with the community on Sundays complain that the Church has an “edifice complex” — wanting us in the building instead of worshiping God somewhere else in a way that appeals to us more. The answer is “both-and”: we need to worship God everywhere and always, alone and with others, in private prayer and in communal celebration, but always “in spirit and truth.”2
The problem with communal worship is that not all who are there are willing to come out of themselves enough to make it truly communal. People come to church on their own terms, to participate fully, partly, or hardly at all. Not all sit together. Not all sing. Not all answer the responses as if they meant them. Not all even listen attentively to what is being proclaimed. Not all are there to minister to one another. God’s presence is obscured by those who are not really present themselves to what is happening.
In Matthew 13: 24-30 Jesus teaches it is not God’s fault that God is not always visible in the Church. “While everybody was asleep, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat.” If we are lulled into complacency, we and others become counter-witnesses to Christ. Instead of a live community of faith we become dead and deadening to others.
A remedy for this is to be constantly intent on ministering to each other. To give we have to be aware of what we have. If we are aware, we will make others aware. Then we will all see and say, “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, mighty God!”
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Be aware of God’s life in you and express it.
1Mark 11: 15-17; 14:58.
2John 4: 19-26.