Jer 23:1-6; PS 23 The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing i shall want; Ephesians 2:13-18; Mk 6:30-34
A few thoughts on this past Sunday's readings
We hear or read in our first reading that God is going to raise up a righteous shoot to David, "as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land."
I was struck by those two words: Just and Right.
In the mass we say these words. They are pressed upon our lips as we prepare to offer the bread and wine and enter into the mystery of the consecration where our offering is transformed by God's grace and becomes for us the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Here is the dialogue prior to Consecration
The priest says: The lord be with you People say: and with your Spirit Priest says: lift up your hearts people say: we lift them up to the Lord Priest says: let us give thanks to the Lord our God People say: it is right and just.
It is right and just.
In deed it is an invitation to enter in to right relationship with God and thus give God his due, which is thanks. Unless we have justice toward God we can never be just toward our neighbor.
It is fitting that it this justice, giving God his due is made possible by he sacrifice of Jesus himself. At Mass we don't just give thanks to God on our own but we enter into the thanksgiving of Jesus to the Father and thus we are caught up in Jesus' relationship with the Father and made one with it. This is the only way we can experience true and right relationship with God, in and through Jesus himself.
Our initial and lasting response to God should always be gratitude.
When was the last time we truly were grateful to God. We say thanks in passing but when was the last time we were truly absorbed in gratitude for the blessings bestowed in our life.
Some time this week set aside time to take an inventory of that which is long over due for gratitude and thanks to God. Enter in to that thanksgiving. Then Tell Go that you love him. Actually say it, "I love you." see if it doesn't affect your relationship with others as the week unfolds.
Secondly we look the second reading and we encounter these words of St Paul, "For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims, that he might create in himself one new person in place of two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it."
Now i know that is a lot to take in.
But just think of the dividing walk for a moment.
There was a physical wall in the temple that acted as a barrier between the Jews and the gentiles. It marked out the place of honor given to the Jews because they were the chosen people. Thus, they had access to the inner precincts of the Temple. Where as the Gentiles were not allowed. They had to be kept on the outside. This dividing wall was a physical representation of what was already a spiritual reality under the Mosaic covenant highlighted by the special rituals and the Kosher laws and regulations. Jews were meant to be different, not like the rest.
But st Paul is saying that that division as been dissolved by the power of the cross and the blood of Christ.
Now imagine. The cross both testifies to God's love and effects forgiveness. This forgiveness under the manifestation of God's love is what dissolves the dividing wall. IS that the case in our life. Divisions only can be overcome by love and forgiveness.
Now, I wish we could say that divisions have all be eradicated. But at last it has not.
I think of all the prejudice that we encounter on a regular basis. There is racial prejudice and socioeconomic prejudice that we readily see all over News. But some of the worst are prejudices I encounter between families, where old wounds have not been tended too. Hurt and pain and anger continue to dominate behavior and choices.
At some point as St Paul reminds u, we must let the power of the cross begin to heal those divisions. At some point we must stop being prejudiced against others and be prejudiced for Christ in all that we do.
This week: take inventory as to where the divisions connive to cause havoc in your life? Seek the power of the Cross and the blood of Christ for healing and freedom.