Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thirsting for God

The Gospel reading for the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time is Luke 9:18-24. It begins:  
"Now it happened that as he was praying alone..."
Mother Teresa once said,
"The fruit of silence is prayer. The fruit of prayer is faith. The fruit of faith is love. The fruit of love is service. The fruit of service is peace."
There is both a history and geography of salvation. Jesus. Who is God, became a man with limitations, choosing a particular time and place to enter into history - Galilee during the reign of Herod under the Roman Empire. Like all of us, Jesus NEEDED to pray. He sought out solitude for His prayer. Peace is the goal of Jesus' prayer, yet He knew that He would have to suffer. So Jesus prayed AND He set His face toward Jerusalem. He probably prayed in a common cave that pilgrims visit in the Holy Land.

Jesus chose to have limitations - to be like us. Every time Jesus shows us that He is God in the Gospels, He first shows us that He is man. His humanity and His divinity are juxtaposed.
Jesus the Man/Jesus is God
  • Incarnation (birth in a stable)/visit from the three kings
  • Jesus lost at age 12/Jesus teaches the teachers
  • Jesus thirsty in Samaria/Jesus tells the Samaritan woman everything she ever did
  • Jesus asleep in boat during storm/Jesus calms storm
  • Jesus climbs Mt. Tabor and is breathless/Jesus' Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor
  • Jesus wept over death of friend, Lazarus/Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
  • Jesus suffers and dies on a cross/Jesus rises from the dead

In the Gospel reading, Jesus also affirms that He is the "Messiah of God", the Christ, the "Son of Man" and warns the Apostles not to say anything but predicts His own suffering and death before He is to rise again.

The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. ~ Luke 9:22

If we wish to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily.

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. ~ Luke 9:24

If we die with Him, we will also rise with Him on the last day.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. . . . if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. ~ Romans 6: 5, 8
This is our inheritance. The second reading from Galatians tells us that we are all children of God in Christ Jesus, for we have been baptized into Christ. Through Baptism, we are all one in Jesus.
We belong to Him, and when we belong to Him, we are heirs of Abraham according to the promise. Our inheritance is resurrection from the dead on the last day.

The promise of the first reading from the prophet Zechariah is the promise of Jesus Christ. 
And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of compassion and supplication, so that, when they look on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born. . . .On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. ~ Zechariah 12:10-11; 13:1
The spirit of compassion and supplication is fulfilled in Christ who is pierced on the cross and Whose death we mourn.  Although we mourn, we also rejoice, for Christ is also the fountain that cleanses us from sin and uncleanness. Let us thirst for Him as the Psalm says.

O God, thou art my God, I seek thee, my soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee, as in a dry and weary land where no water is. So I have looked upon thee in the sanctuary, beholding thy power and glory. Because thy steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise thee. So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name. My soul is feasted as with marrow and fat, and my mouth praises thee with joyful lips, . . . for thou hast been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to thee; thy right hand upholds me. ~ Psalm 63:1-5, 7-8

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