Saturday the 16the Week in Ordinary Time
“Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place” (Jer. 7:3). The writers of Scripture were moved by the Holy Spirit to make known the encapsulated Word they had received. Because they placed themselves at the service of the Spirit, we have the Sacred Texts. The Life-creating Spirit that hovered over the great abyss, hovers over the bread and wine that are offered upon the altar. Because the celebrant obediently repeats Christ’s sacred words, these humble gifts become for us the Bread of Life and the Chalice of salvation. For the Word to be heard and communion to be realized, we need to amend our lives and conform our wills to that of our Heavenly Father. Ponder for a moment these words penned by St. Paul. “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” ( Gal. 2:20). The life of faith demands that we amend our lives and live in conformity with our profession of faith. The apostle James put it quite simply, “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18).
There needs to be consistency between what we profess with our lips and what we feel in our hearts. St. Benedict alluded to this in chapter 19 of his Rule for Monks. “Let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices” (RB. 19.7). This harmony between our minds and lips conforms us to Christ, who is the way and the truth and the life (CF. Jn. 14:6). Jesus Christ is the Word of the Father that comes forth from the Father’s mouth and returns to the Father’s side after accomplishing the purpose for which he was sent (CF. Is. 55:11). The author of the Book of Revelation tells us, “Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev. 3:22). There must be congruity between what we hear and how we live it. This passage taken from the Book of Exodus addresses the connection between hearing and obeying (conforming to) the implanted word. “Then Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read it aloud to the people, who responded, ‘We will obey and put into practice everything the Lord has commanded” (Ex. 24:7). Faith is not merely a repetition of prescribed formulas; it is a consistent way of life. Faith is a commitment to loving God, following God, and doing God’s will. Faith means allowing what we have heard to transform the very fiber of our lives.
“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew… The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades” (EVANGELII GAUDIUM, #1,2, Pope Francis).