Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Do you follow the daily readings? I try to, but it does get away from me, especially when daily Mass is not an option with noisy little ones. Lent is always a good time to make a greater effort to clear out the obstacles that prevent us from hearing the Word of God proclaimed.
Sometimes the readings are hard to piece together. I find myself straining to figure out what is being proclaimed in the way the readings have been put together on a particular day. Today's readings are obvious. They are about hearing a call to repentance and responding with a contrite heart. Deep and true repentance that will open your eyes and to the heights you were created for and free your heart to be healed by the one who is beyond all understanding and is quick to console a broken heart.
But it is the Gospel of Luke that causes me to listen and reflect back on the other readings. In this reading we here from Jesus about The Queen of Sheba who responds to the wisdom of Solomon by traveling from the ends of the earth, sparing no cost so that she can receive it. And in this Gospel Jesus says: "there is something greater than Solomon here." Can you feel it? Do those words uttered from the mouth of Christ cause you to take in a quick breath? Does your soul ache just a little when you hear them? Is there a stirring of desire for truth, and the deep wisdom that heals superficiality?
Going on, the notorious Ninevites immediately respond to the preaching of a reluctant prophet by donning sackcloth and ashes, by fasting and mourning. Again, Jesus says, "there is something greater than Jonah here." And again these words seem to reverberate inside me, they call me to react to Jesus in a far deeper way, to repent in a more profound way. They are ripples in the waters of my soul that could become of tsunami of contrition if I just let them flow and wash away all the soft and fuzzy notions of the majesty of God that I have blindly allowed to accumulate in my heart. They have calcified and hardened over the years, and it is so hard to see the depravity of sin without the awesome majesty of God. If you want to grow in love for Jesus, you have to let them go, or you will never, never realize that there is something greater in Him than is contained in all the wisdom of this world, and in all the prophets that have perceived and proclaimed the Word of God. You will never recognize the tragedy of your sins.
I don't think this means we should turn overly scrupulous. The two extremes of scrupulosity and presumption on the Lords mercy both block our realizing that, as it says in Sirach 2:18: God's mercy is equal to His majesty. However, I think that presumption is the more prevalent problem of our time. I think our image of God is a weak and pathetic one, and so our vision for sin is treacherously myopic. The Queen of the South will indeed condemn us for having Jesus Himself on our tongues, yet barely giving up a Sunday to celebrate Him. Without an inkling of God's majesty it is terribly hard to recognize sin and how it works like a cancer from within our calcified hearts unless it is repented of. As terrible as the Ninevites were they could perceive the Almighty, even through the preaching of a distant (and not very sympathetic) prophet.
So listen to the Gospel again, listen with your imagination. These words were spoken by the Lord Himself, and they are active. Feel that aching in your soul, let the ripples become a torrent that can wash away the debris and the blindness. Or at least spur your awareness of what "something greater" means. Let them break your heart so that you can offer the Lord the sacrifice He desires, and he can pour out His great mercy upon you. "There is something greater than Jonah here."
Peace and Grace,