Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Genuine Choice is You, My God

By Beth DeCristofaro

All rivers go to the sea, yet never does the sea become full. To the place where they go, the rivers keep on going. All speech is labored; there is nothing one can say. The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor is the ear satisfied with hearing. What has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done. Nothing is new under the sun! (Ecclesiastes 1:7-9)

But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him. (Luke 9:9)

My Jesus, it is you I desire, my happiness, my all.  May I allow neither my false desires nor others’ misdirection to stifle my need for you.  May I always walk at your side.  May mercy and goodness follow me and may I share your mercy and goodness with others all the days of my life.

Yesterday’s readings introduced us to Matthew who left his tax office and (most likely) affluent home to follow Jesus. Jesus answered the indignant devout Jews who chided him for dining with such a deviant that God values mercy, not sacrifices and rules. Today we hear that Herod, tyrant and sympathizer to the oppressive Romans, has been trying to see Jesus. Why did he not get up and go to dine with Jesus? The notes to the Gospel tell us that Herod was curious, interested, greedy for information rather than motivated by faith and the desire to ally himself with the Divine. Later in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 23:6ff) Herod has the chance to interrogate Jesus. It is there revealed that Herod did not hear God’s voice even if he talked with Jesus, he did not see God’s face even in meeting Jesus nor could he follow even if in the same room with the Lord of Life himself.

Matthew, as most of us sinners, needed more.  St. John Paul II said:  “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”[i]

Millennia later we know that the authors of Wisdom, while poignantly describing the human condition, did not know the entire story.  Jesus, Son of God and man of Nazareth was, indeed, new under our sun.  And His resurrection can be repeated in the hearts of any who choose to hear, see and follow.  It is not by keeping oneself at the center of one’s heart as Herod did that one can find God and experience resurrection.  How can you make a tiny but far-from-insignificant human resurrection happen within your heart today by offering mercy and love to someone?

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