Friday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time Father Edward Hopkins, LC
Mark 12: 35-37
As Jesus was teaching in the temple area he said, "How do the scribes claim that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said: The Lord said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.' David himself calls him 'lord'; so how is he his son?" The great crowd heard this with delight.
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you have created and redeemed me. I believe that you have called me to prayer today. I trust that you will teach me to pray and relish what is right and true, good and beautiful. I love you, Lord, for in you is all perfection, goodness and love.
Petition: Lord Jesus, make my heart more like yours.
1. Speaking for All to Hear: Imagine Jesus teaching in the Temple area, surrounded by hundreds of spiritually hungry men and women. In the background and at a distance stand the scribes: cold stares, squinting eyes, full of distrust, fear and scheming. He raises his voice, enough for even those in the back to hear. He is speaking to everyone. What are their dispositions? Most of the crowd does more than hear; they listen intently. They believe that God will speak to them through Jesus, speak to their needs and hearts, and give them the love, truth and inspiration they need. Others listen but superficially. Their motives are curiosity, entertainment and vanity – something to talk about. The scribes don't listen, except for what might serve their plotting. Jesus still tries to reach them then and reach me now. Am I open?
2. A Mysterious Identity: Lord and Son - The scribes oppose Jesus for many reasons: jealousy, ignorance, pride…. But the greatest reason is that he acts as though he were the Messiah, even God himself. How close they are to the truth! Using their own Scriptures, he points to this truth: somehow the Messiah will be both son and Lord. His rebuttal of their objections is another effort of his heart to reach out. He invites them to rise to the level of faith. Reminiscent of his words to his own mother – "Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work" (Luke 2:49) – Jesus is a son of man by birth, but by origin and mission he is the Lord, the Son of the Most High. Do I overcome my own pride and ignorance with faith, allowing God to work at his level, far beyond my comprehension?
3. Hearing with Delight: Prayer is a difficult and challenging art; indeed, it is much more than an art. We try to focus, reflect and enter into dialogue with someone we neither see nor hear with our senses. And worst of all, we don't usually feel anything: "I get nothing out of it!" While prayer is not about feelings, but rather loving, it is nonetheless an experience that should move us in some way to change. Listening to Jesus brought "delight" to the crowds. A neat and convincing argument! The wonderment of discovering truth! The joy and satisfaction of seeing their champion score a victorious blow! Whatever the occasion, our experience of Christ in prayer can at times produce delight, but only to the degree that we share or conform our thoughts, desires and loves to his. The scribes found no delight, for they shared not his heart and mind. Where is my delight?
Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, open my heart to your words. Help me to believe even if it hurts or demands that I change my ideas. Raise me up above my own prejudices and insecurities. Show me what to change in my life. I want do it in order to love you more fully and to delight more deeply in your friendship and love.
Resolution: I will choose and develop a love for one spiritual value, virtue or good. I will look for it in Christ, reflect on its beauty, and ask him to grant it to me.