We should all find it interesting, informative, and challenging that the four scripture extracts this Sunday continue last week’s emphasis on the universality of the Risen Christ. ACTS 14: 21b...
” God-seeking hearts will revive; …”
So proclaims TODAY’S PSALM [69 or 68].
I wonder how many of us always, each and every single day without exception, feel ‘on top of the world’, that we are walking with God-in-Christ close to us, and enjoying a strong, firm, faith without doubt or question?
PUT YOUR HANDS UP!
Now, please know that my hand is not up!
However, at the same time, I strongly suspect that everyone reading and reflecting on this Sunday’s scriptures are truly, honestly, and devotedly God-seeking men and women. Why else would we be making the time and effort to prepare ourselves for this Sunday’s Eucharist?
We are all believers who seek to know the Lord better, become more faithful, and grow into more authentic disciples. At the same time, we all have doubts, questions, failures, limitations, and face days (sometimes weeks and months) when we simply do not feel close to God or that he
(she?) is far-far-far away. THE WELLS HAVE RUN DRY!?
This is the time for us to simply
PLOD ON! If, in general we are God-seeking (even in our dryness and confusion) our hearts will revive. Of this fact we must have no doubt. As our Psalm tells us “God will bring … and rebuild.”
TODAY’S OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE [DEUTERONOMY 30: 10 – 14]
provides us with enormous encouragement. There we are told that ” ….. this day is not too hard for you … nor is it beyond the sea … the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”
Again, our Psalm tells us much the same – “… your mercy is kind; in your great compassion turn towards me.” This is why we must plod on in those dry, difficult times. However, the secret lies in the truth that the Lord’s words must always be our constant backup. We have to keep them in our mouths and hearts. They are the basic anchors. How often have we not ‘upbraided’ a good friend for not trusting us, coming to us, remembering that we were, and are, always ‘there for them’? Why do we doubt God-in-Christ?
In this context, words from our
NEW TESTAMENT READING [COLOSSIANS 1: 15 – 20] should jump out at us – “in him all things hold together.” Jesus Christ holds everything about me, my life and living, my lows and highs, my depressions, cares and concerns – EVERYTHING! HE HOLDS IT ALL TOGETHER. Personally, I believe the Lord works harder for me in the lows than the highs. Never forget, as Paul tells us, that Jesus “is the beginning …. in everything he (is) pre-eminent.”
He is, if we read deeply into TODAY’S GOSPEL EXTRACT [LUKE 10: 25 – 37], pre-eminent / powerfully present in the famous parable of the Good Samaritan. Does this surprise you? It should not if you see the Lord presenting himself as the Samaritan. We have to identify ourselves with the one who “fell among robbers,” and often need to be revived. In such difficult times we need to accept the presence of Good-Samaritan-Jesus who will always be very near to us in order that we can do it.
When we need ‘reviving’, expected sources of assistance often fail us. The very ones who should be there for us – like the priest and Levite in the parable -pass us by: they ‘run sacred’ on the other side – distance themselves from the immediate problem. Our help and solace so often come to us from the least expected – even from the strangest – sources. Do not overlook the fact that Jesus presents himself in the person of one who was regarded with disdain, and seen as UNCLEAN! The lawyer whose question initiates this parable cannot, at the end, even bring himself to designate the Samaritan as such. The Lord presented three specific characters …. Priest, Levite, and Samaritan. What was the obvious answer to Jesus’ question – “which of these proved neighbour?”
We must develop the habit of clearly designating the Lord as our Samaritan – especially when he comes to us through others – even the unexpected stranger.
Then, and only then, are we able, with revived hearts, to proclaim with the psalmist:
“I will praise God’s name … glorify him with thanksgiving.”