- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 23, 2015

Fr. John Denburger, OCSO [1]

25th Wednesday in Ordinary Time
Ezra 9: 5 – 9; Ps Tobit 13; Luke 9: 1 – 6

Ezra stretched out his hands to God confessing the evil deeds done by himself and the people and through heartfelt prayer, he was graced with a gift of enlightenment. He was graced to see beyond the painful events that have come upon them. In his own words: “…we have been delivered up…to the will of the kings of foreign lands, to the sword, to captivity, to pillage and disgrace.”

By God’s grace Ezra perceives God present and working behind all these things, as painful and disgraceful as they are. He is able to proclaim: “And now…mercy came to us from our Lord, our God…For slaves we are, but in our servitude our God has not abandoned us; rather He has turned the good will of the kings of Persia toward us.” Faced with one reality that he cannot escape, he sees the greater Reality, the Reality alone that confers deliverance.

With their servitude still in place, Ezra is free in his heart, free to trust in God and therefore, focused on the unfailing, constant Providence of God. This is true freedom and no small gift!

There is a similar teaching in the Gospel. Jesus entrusts the Twelve with power and authority over all demons, to cure the sick and above all, to proclaim the Kingdom of God. This is their mission, their primary focus so Jesus goes on to tell them clearly that all else: like food, money, tunic are secondary, things not worthy of their concern.

His message to them comes down to one thing: proclaim the Kingdom. Let nothing, no one deter you from this. If you are not made welcome, shake the dust from your feet and move on. Stay focused! Proclaim the Kingdom!

As Ezra was focused on God and the Twelve, on the Kingdom of God, so we are clearly reminded by the Lord that through our Baptism, our life in Christ calls for that same center, same focus. The very first words of the Creed state our life-stance: “I believe in God…” Of everything in our lives, He is first and everyone and everything else is secondary, not unimportant but secondary or even, trivial in reality.

May the Lord deliver us from allowing anyone or anything to take God’s place in our lives. May the Lord deliver us from this kind of servitude that truly enslaves because we have been created for freedom, freedom in Christ.