Archive for June 23rd, 2018

Micah 3:5-7Avoiding Collapse 

Friday, June 23, 2018

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Mini-Reflection (Peter John Cameron 323): Those who do the will of the Father will enter the kingdom of heaven.  Those who listen to and act on the words of Jesus will be like a wise man whose house is built on rock.  As Hagar experienced, no matter what force of abuse is unleashed on us, we stand firm; we do not collapse.  The authority of Christ upholds us. 

This refers to today’s readings of Genesis16, Psalm 106, and Matthew 7:21-29.  In particular we look at the story of Hagar, the servant girl who becomes smug with an unrealistic sense of power.  When her circumstances change and she suffers abuse, she runs away from her mistress and master . . . only to be urged by the Lord’s messenger to return.  I do not believe that we are to take away from this story the idea that we submit to abuse.  When abuse is severe and life threatening we must in prudence remove ourselves from the abuser and, in fact, report this abuse in some way to the appropriate authority.  I also do not believe that it is possible for us to change an abuser in any way . . . only the abuser him or herself can be converted and then only through expert guidance and a good deal of prayer.  What Hagar’s story tells us is this: when we find ourselves in unbearable circumstances hoping that someone in power has a change of heart, we must rely on God rather any power we think we might have.  We petition God to convert the stony heart of the corrupt authority; we remove ourselves only if we are in imminent danger.  In the end, we can never change others, but we can change ourselves.  And the wonderful mystery is this; God uses our own conversion to transform others – thus redeeming many souls.  Our God is a marvelous God.

This is similar to the lesson we learn from Matthew today: if we want to follow Christ, we must learn to enact the Law of Love rather than become mere parrots of the Mosaic Law as are the scribes.  The crowd is astonished to hear this new concept – that we might think for ourselves and that God’s Law is about Love and not about compliance to hundreds of rules we cannot remember clearly.  It is no wonder that the scribes and temple authorities become angry with Jesus.  By preaching that our reliance only on God as our rock and sturdy foundation, he eliminates any need we may have of them as we forge our personal relationship with God.  Jesus expends himself for the redemption of many.  No wonder the crowds were astonished. 

These lessons are so simple and easily remembered, yet we cannot hear them too often: Trust God, avoid false prophets, pray for our enemies, do what it right, act in God’s love rather than mimic God’s words, and stand firm . . . do not collapse. 

We do not want to hear the Lord declare: I never knew you . . .

We yearn to hear the words: You are a good and faithful servant . . .

We do not want to flee into the desert as did Hagar . . .

We want to remain in close contact with those who form our inner circle . . .

We do not want to be put to shame and confounded . . .

We hope to be blessed as are those who observe the right, and who do what is just . . . we hope to rejoice in the joy of God’s people . . . we want to remain firm rather than collapse . . . and so we give thanks to the Lord who brings prosperity to his chosen ones  . . . for the Lord visits us with his saving help . . . and so we say with confidence . . . the Lord is good.  Amen. 

Peter John Cameron, Rev. “Mini-Reflection.” MAGNIFICAT. 23 June 2011: 323. Print.

We will be away from the Internet for several days. Please enjoy this reflection first posted on June 23, 2011. 

Image from: http://www.digitalhit.com/posters/p/3649814 

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