September 1, 2008
Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
By Beth DeCristofaro
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God.... For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified…so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:1, 2, 5)
Lord, I love your commands.
I have more discernment than the elders,
because I observe your precepts….
From every evil way I withhold my feet,
that I may keep your words. (Psalm 119:97, 100-101)
He said to them, "Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing." And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth…(the people) were filled with fury, they rose up, drove him out of the town…(Luke 4: 21-22, 28-29)
"In your love I find release
A haven from my unbelief
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God, to thee
Take my life and let me be
A living prayer, my God, to thee"
(from "A Living Prayer", Alison Krauss & Union Station)
Last week we heard Jesus chastising the Jewish leaders for their hypocrisy, their greed, their lust for power over God's Chosen People. In one of the most memorable – and chilling – images, Jesus called them whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27). Today, when Paul speaks to the Corinthians and claims to "know nothing…except Jesus Christ… crucified" he puts new weight on the image of the tomb. That tomb was human made. Paul relies on Jesus Christ not human knowledge.
What does my heart look like? Probably not as sepulcher-like as the Pharisees, I tell myself. And certainly not as close-minded and hard-hearted as Jesus' neighbors. But what makes me think this? Perhaps it is the surprising joy which sweeps through me as I read the psalm. "I love your commands, Lord" and the promises Jesus reads from Isaiah.
Is my heart clean and "new" as Joseph of Arimathea's tomb was for the body of the murdered Jesus? My heart should be prepared as the psalmist prepared his heart. My heart should be swept through prayer, meditation, and instruction to receive not a battered body but a resurrected Christ who will illuminate me, and through me will illuminate the world, with the power of God.
Look at what Jesus' neighbors refused and the world even today, fights so hard against: glad tidings to the poor… liberty to captives… recovery of sight to the blind…freedom for the oppressed… (Luke 4:18) Am I prepared to be illumined and filled with the light of God? How do I shine God's illumination for the poor, captives, blind, oppressed? Do I recognize them – including if they are me?
Can I love them?