Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Aug.17. Lectionary 420. Ezekiel 28:1-10. Deuteronomy
32:26-188.8.131.52-36. Matthew 19:23-30.
Ezekiel continues to shock us with the narratives and the prophecies he has
in his scroll. Since he was a priest connected with the Temple, we can see
that he is impassioned about his call and even seems to let it get out of
control at times. His actions are eccentric and bizarre. Nothing new there
among us humans! But to realize these are inspired writings strike us with
doubt and confusion. Only contextual reading, a deep faith, and probably
some creative insights can get us through some of his antics and words.
Today is another example where he brings the wrath of God out into the open
against Jerusalem and against its king and nation. Jesus, too, seems to us
to be quite unreasonable in his demands about the cost of discipleship or
were only those during his time the ones who were to follow him in this
ascetic approach of absolute detachment?
It is the haugtiness of the prince of Tyre that sets off Ezekiel's
diatribe. Apprarently, this prince made himself out to be a god because of
his great riches and his wisdom. God will however through our prophet put
him in his place. After all he is only a "son of man" (a human being who
is definitely very mortal). God says to him via Ezekiel, "And yet you are
a man, and not a god, however you may think yourself like a god."
Deuteronomy is often used in our Psalm responses because of its covenantal
and ethical approach to things of God and things that our related to our
every day commitments to God and neighbor. God alone is the author of life
and death according to the writer of Deuteronomy. We are told in this
inspired book of the Torah to "choose life" over choosing death. This is
an appropriate theological dictum that we all need in today's world. God
speaks to us through the response,"It is I (the Lord) who deal death and
give life." (Deut.32;39).
Jesus demands of his disciples a total commitment in following him and a
detachment from almost everything they have. Peter questions Jesus about
what then is the reward or value of being a disciple if it is not permitted
to have the riches and good relationships of family, relatives, and
friends. Peter is dumbfounded by Jesus' ideas and commands about
discipleship. Who really then can be saved? Peter has been following Jesus
for sometime now, but this is a decisive moment in the call of his
discipleship. How do we separate ourselves from our culture and our
religious rituals and beliefs such as thinking that riches show that God is
blessing us? We have our questions about what Jesus says just like Peter
but we continue to believe and to listen. Again we need to see Jesus in
the context of all that he said and did; then maybe there is a way of
understanding these more demanding words of Jesus to us. Jesus does give
us an answer that is helpful. He says "With God all things are possible."
He should know and we should trust and believe in him and his words. Amen.
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