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(Part 95)


March 27, 2014

Today’s readings:
Jeremiah 7:23-28
Psalm 95:1-9
Luke 11:14-23

We are called to be united in order to do the work of the Kingdom. This is a basic premise. “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” (Lk 11:17b). If a community or parish or church is not united in heart and mind and vision, then its members will end up fighting among themselves. Then they cannot overcome the enemy, but rather, they will be overcome by the enemy.

What indeed do we see in Christian community?

  • Infidelity. “Faithfulness has disappeared” (Jer 7:28b). People are unfaithful to their commitments, to their covenant, to the vision of the community, to the life and good order of the body, to participation in crucial activities, to loyalty to one another.
  • Hardness of heart. “They walked in the stubbornness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.” (Jer 7:24b). Though they might still go through the motions of facing the Lord (in worship, in prayer, at Mass), they actually live their own lives according to their own desires. They no longer walk the Lord’s path. They have in effect turned away from Him.
  • Not attuned to God’s mind and direction. “But they did not listen to me, nor did they pay attention.” (Jer 7:24a). They have often enough heard what is God’s call and way of life, but they persist in worldly activities that detract from their walk to holiness. They persist in such divisive practices as lying, maligning, gossiping, agitating against leaders, rivalry, envy, unforgiveness, selfishness, disobedience to authority, forming factions.

How do we overcome disunity? It is when we focus on God. It is when we decide to be obedient to God. It is when we seek God and present ourselves as humble servants. It is what God has always told His people: “Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk exactly in the way I command you, so that you may prosper.” (Jer 7:23).

We are to listen to God. As we understand and learn, we are to accept His ways and His directions, without any reservation. Oftentimes God gives us very challenging and difficult directions or tasks. We are to obey in expectant faith and unwavering hope. This is how we can truly be His people, guided and cared for and blessed by Him. “For he is our God, we are the people he shepherds, the sheep in his hands.” (Ps 95:7a). What a wonderful reassuring picture that is. When we walk exactly as He commands, then we prosper. Then we overcome the enemy.

The choice to us is simple. Are we with God or not? Now it cannot be that we say yes we are with God, but no we do not walk exactly as He commands. It is just either-or. It is black or white, with no gray areas. You are either hot or cold, not lukewarm. Jesus says it this way: “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Lk 11:23a). We may vehemently deny that we are against God, but if we are not fully submitted to Him, then we will indeed be against Him. We cannot be used for His purposes. We even end up aiding and abetting the enemy.

Now when it comes to the work of the Kingdom, the same principle applies, as Jesus says, “whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Lk 11:23b). If we are not doing the work of gathering the lost sheep, then we participate in the work of the enemy of scattering them. If we do not work at unity among ourselves so that we are gathered as one flock and one army, then we ourselves are scattered, and become easy prey to the enemy.

It is time to decide. Are we really for God? Are we really ready to do His work? “Oh, that today you would hear his voice: Do not harden your hearts” (Ps 95:7b-8a).

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