FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
THIRTEENTH WEEK OF THE YEAR
Weekday readings: Matthew 8: 18 to 9: 17: Themes of singleminded dedication, fearless trust, openness to mystery, abandonment of control, mercy over righteousness, thirst for the “new wine” of divine union with God.
Jesus calls us to be so totally dedicated to the life and work of his Kingdom that we can effectively draw others into the mystery of sharing his divine life.
Our faith: How many of these statements do you believe? And live?
Matthew 8: 18-22: Jesus teaches us to measure our appreciation of the goal by our acceptance of the price. We must be prepared to sacrifice financial security, social acceptance, even the approval of our families in order to do the work of God.
Ordinary morality will not convert the world. But Christian morality can — if we dedicate ourselves to ministering to all people with the love of God himself.
Matthew 8: 23-27: Even when Jesus appears to be absent and inactive, he is still present and powerful. When we think Jesus is asleep, we need to awaken our faith.
Matthew 8: 28-34: Many who reject our ministry are just afraid of the unknown. They are not open to mystery, because they want the false security of living on ground level, without delving into what might be above or below them.
Matthew 9: 1-8: The greatest adversaries of Jesus were the priests whose power-base he threatened, the Pharisees, whose first priority was “law and order,” and the scribes, the self-appointed “doctrinal police,” who made themselves the defenders of Jewish orthodoxy. They were all addicted to control.
God empowering humans to act in his name by his living Spirit within them is fearful to fundamentalists and to those who seek security through control. But not to those who are open to mystery.
Matthew 9: 9-13: Paradoxically, religion can keep us from seeing how irreligious we are! Being faithful but not faith-full in the external observances of our religion can keep us from asking whether, in our hearts, we really love God and one another.
Matthew 9: 14-17: Jesus re-designed religion to make his own person — and God revealed through him — the focus of every religious act we perform. The function of Christian laws and observances is not to constitute “holiness” but to increase our desire and hunger for personal union with God, which is the goal and gift of grace.
Do the work of Jesus, before all other things.