Jeremiah 23:1-6 Psalm 23 Ephesians 2:13-18 Mark 6: 30- 34
At a recent RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) conference, we were reminded that even if the Church suggests that people who wish to become Catholic be in a process for one to three years, it still “takes as long as it takes” for one to put on the heart and mind of Christ.
Our Jewish ancestors in the faith knew the struggle of trying to be faithful to God’s love and to the covenant initiated by God. The more sophisticated they became, the more numerous they became, the harder it was for them to simply be and live as God’s people in justice and in love. The intense desert relationship of God and God’s people cooled, lost intensity and priority. The people lost their identity as they and their rulers became more interested only in power and prestige. God says through Ezekiel the Prophet that a new ruler will spring from the root of Jesse, from the shoot of David, one who will do what is just and right. This is the reconciliation proclaimed by Paul, a renewal made possible in the blood of Christ. God wishes to be in relationship with God’s people. God loves the people in good times and not so good times.
In the Marcan Gospel texts of the last few weeks, we saw Jesus rejected by his own townspeople and Jesus instructing his disciples to take nothing with them for the road. Those are hard and exhausting realities reminiscent of the fate of the prophets of old and of the arduous journey of the Chosen People through the desert. Verse 34 of today’s Gospel describes Jesus going apart with the disciples because they are weary and exhausted. “They have given their all,” we might say. Even so, Jesus’ “heart is moved with pity” for the people who have been following him. He teaches them. He teaches them by his actions, actions which speak louder than words: God is love. God cares. God feeds the hungry heart. God heals. God holds you to his heart.
As we live through these summer days, in a world filled with heated attention-grabbing ploys and power plays, with mindless violence, with political posturing, what will “having my heart moved with pity” look like? Will I greet each person I pass? Will I speak out on behalf of one who is being categorized or stigmatized because of racial, sexual, religious or political preference? Will I make time to be apart with Jesus for him to renew my heart? “Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need—love and forgiveness, pressed down and overflowing--to begin each day with an openness to God’s love in each person and each event. Will I become good at this? No matter. In God, love takes as long as it takes…
-Sr. Mary Laura Lesniak, ssmn
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